Eskymos roll past rival Braves

One-two pitching punch lifts Escanaba

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Escanaba’s Nicole Kamin delivers a pitch against Gladstone in the second game Tuesday against Gladstone.

ESCANABA –The Escanaba softball team will head downstate to Ann Arbor this weekend to see how it measures up.

For a tune-up, the Eskymos swept rival Gladstone 7-0 and 13-3 Tuesday at Lemerand Park.

“We are inching up there and kind of making progress,” Esky coach Jamie Segorski said. “We are still a little behind at the beginning of the year.

“Everybody else is in the mid to high 20s (games played), so we are suffering some of the early season mistakes with our base running and fielding. I say it tongue-in-cheek because I really expect a lot. We really are playing well, but we’re always looking for that perfect game.”

Gladstone, meanwhile, slipped to 19-10, and had trouble generating offense against Esky pitchers Gabi Salo and Nicole Kamin.

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Gladstone shortstop Taylor Hunter sets herself for a throw to first base against Escanaba at Lemerand Park.

“I was really proud of our girls all night,” Gladstone coach John Nevala said. “They fought hard and they didn’t give up. That is an excellent team. Jamie and his staff do an excellent job. They have excellent girls. My hat is off to them.”

In the opener, Salo pitched a no-hitter, allowed only four base runners and struck out 14. Lexi Chaillier’s leadoff homer sparked a three-run first inning for the Eskymos (18-2).

“She pitched real well,” Segorski said about Salo, who also threw a no-hitter Monday against Marquette. “She’s throwing the ball so well right now.”

Esky also had a three-run sixth inning to pull away from the Braves.

Taylor Gauthier led Esky with three hits, with Chaillier collecting two hits and scoring three runs.

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Escanaba’s Claire McInerney heads toward the plate after hitting a third-inning grand slam in Game 2 against Gladstone Tuesday.

Lexi Winling suffered the loss for the Braves with a seven-hitter, with two walks and two hit batters.

“Lexi pitched well,” Nevala said. “They scored three or four unearned runs off her.”

In the nightcap, Esky scored three runs in the second inning and seven runs in the second inning, highlighted by Claire McInerney’s grand slam.

“She was smiling from ear to ear,” Segorski said. “To hit a grand slam in a game your senior year against Gladstone who is our cross-town rival and it was her last home game against them. She was pumped.”

Andie Balenger started her first varsity game in the circle and was relieved by Winling. They combined to allow 13 hits.

Cassie Wisler led Esky with three hits, Gauthier belted two doubles and Maddy Griffin and Kamin each had two hits.

“The inning they got to (Balenger), we gave them four or five outs,” Nevala said. “We could have been out of that inning being down 3-0 or 4-0 instead of 10-0.

Gladstone managed two hits off Esky freshman pitcher Nicole Kamin, who struck out five, walked none and hit one batter.

The Braves struck for three runs in the top of the fifth inning, with Winling getting an RBI single. Olivia Capodilupo had the other Gladstone hit.

“I was really happy with how Nicole threw the ball today,” Segorski said. “She is getting better and better as a freshman. To have her and Gabi as ninth and 10th graders is a nice spot for us.”

Gladstone will host Gwinn Thursday and Nevala doesn’t think the two losses against Esky will linger.

“It’s hard to stop them,” he said. ” As long as I get effort out of my girls I’m happy. I felt I got excellent effort out of them tonight. We will build on this, that’s all we can do.”