Braves rally past Esky

Escanaba’s Jared Hanson (right) prepares to tag Gladstone’s Carson Shea (left) at home plate for the beginning of a double play Monday at Escanaba.

ESCANABA — The Escanaba baseball team put up a valiant effort in its rematch against the Gladstone Braves, but was ultimately overcome 4-1 here Monday night in a pitching duel.

The Eskymos led 1-0 entering the fifth inning of the Great Northern Conference contest. After a lineout, three straight singles loaded the bases for the Braves.

Gladstone’s Carson Shea got things rolling with a hard ground single which scored Cole Hansen and Riley Baldovski.

“Today was a game of inches,” Esky coach Scott Hanson said. “(Jared) Crow had that swinging bunt, which was a game changer. We had a ball in the gap that our center fielder just almost had — but missed — even though, it was a great effort. You can’t say it was lucky — they took advantage of the situation — and that’s baseball.”

Gladstone went up 3-1 on the next play as Zach Hanson scored on a pop out by Dan Martin. With Escanaba (11-10) unable to answer and Gladstone (15-6) adding a run in the sixth, the Braves sealed the game.

“I think we just got around the lineup a couple times to see them,” Braves’ coach Kelly Shea said. “He (Jared Hanson) was pitching really good. We just got a few timely hits, but I think the key was we got to see him a couple times through the rotation. We fell behind, and we didn’t have much of anything happening. We kind of had our heads hanging. Next thing you know, we get a couple hits and everything starts looking better. Then we started getting some momentum, so I think that was what changed the game.”

Esky’s sole run came in the first inning on a groundout from Craig Kamin to score Tyler Lawson.

“We knew that they were going to come to play after we mercied them in two games at our house,” coach Shea said.

“We knew it was going to be a battle. They played great, and their pitching was awesome. They had a few unfortunate errors that hurt them, but it was a good and well played game.”

Coach Hanson put the loss down to the difference in errors.

“We had a couple balls drop that we couldn’t get to, and we had a couple errors and misplayed situations,” he said. “That was the difference in the game for us. It probably should have been a 2-1 game, but instead it was 4-1. Honestly, other than a few mistakes, I think it was a pitcher’s duel, even though it was 4-1. I think Jared (Hanson) pitched well, and Carson Shea pitched an absolute gem for them. So, hats off to them.”

Despite the loss, he was happy with his team’s performance.

“All I asked after last time was that the boys came and competed,” he said. “I can’t be disappointed with what happened today. It was a baseball game and a good one by both teams. It was what an Escanaba-Gladstone game should be. I’m happy with the effort. I’m just disappointed we didn’t end up with the win.”

Shea earned the win over 6 2/3 innings. He allowed three hits, one run and struck out three. Cooper Cavadeas went 2 for 3 with a run scored. Hansen, Crow and Cody Frappier all collected one hit, and Zach Hanson finished with two hits and one run.

Jared Hanson took the loss over seven innings. He allowed four runs (three earned) on 10 hits and struck out six. Kamin picked up Esky’s sole RBI, while Lawson and Jake LaFave notched one hit apiece.

Escanaba, which also celebrated Parents’ Night, travels to Kingsford for a doubleheader today at 4:45, while Gladstone hosts Menominee for a twinbill at 4.

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