Eskymos pull away late

MENOMINEE — An error-filled fourth and fifth inning for Menominee allowed Escanaba to pull away and eventually go home with a 9-3 Great Northern Conference victory on Thursday.

In the top of the fifth inning leading 3-1, Esky’s Bryant Maki was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Craig Kamin reached base on a throwing error. With the ball rolling to the fence behind first base, Maki rounded second and headed for third. When the ball was picked up, Menominee first baseman Carter Berger tried throwing over to third to get Maki, but the ball got by the third baseman and Maki came in to score. Kamin was able to advance to third on the play and later scored on a groundout.

In the sixth, Esky (13-11) took advantage of four Menominee errors to tack on four more runs and hike its lead to 9-1.

“We’ve been good at playing small ball this year and making some things happen on the bases,” Esky coach Scott Hanson said. “We haven’t had a ton of time to practice so it’s nice to be able to do some situational things during the games.”

Menominee scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the rally fell short.

Brody Waara walked to leadoff, stole second and advanced to third on Trent Albert’s single. Both would later come around to score on wild pitches, but Esky was able to close it out and get home with the win.

Menominee was held hitless until the sixth inning when Hunter Goldschmidt hit a single and Keagan Monroe bunted his way on.

“When you don’t get hits it’s hard to score runs. To score runs without a hit is tough and it’s not going to be easy to win games that way,” Menominee coach John Beyer said.

To start the game, the Eskymos scored one run in the first inning, and if not for a great play by the Maroons defense it could have been much larger.

Tyler Lawson led off with a double and Maki hit a single to right field. On Maki’s single, Lawson attempted to get home, but perfect relay throws from Keaton Uecke to Buddy Beyer to Chad Kenney allowed Kenney to tag out Lawson at the plate. The next Esky batter, Craig Kamin, singled in Maki as the Eskymos grabbed a 1-0 lead. Menominee starting pitcher Zach Starzynski was able to get out of the inning with a flyout and, after beaning Grant Lamarche to put runners on first and third with two outs, struck out the next batter.

“We probably should have had more (runs) than that just to start but to get a little momentum was good,” Hanson said.

In the top of the third with the score still 1-0, Esky took advantage of a throwing error, a walk and a base knock to score two more runs. Kamin drew a one-out walk, stole second and when he attempted to steal third, the throw from the Maroons catcher got past the third baseman and Kamin came in to score easily. Austin Willett was then walked and he scored on Jake LeFave’s RBI-single to hike the lead to 3-0 in favor of the Eskymos.

The Maroons scored their first run in the bottom of the fourth. Goldschmidt walked, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. After Berger was walked, Billy Bailey grounded out to the shortstop allowing Goldschmidt to put the Maroons on the board.

Escanaba starting pitcher Noah Lancourt, after struggling in previous games, shook off the bugs and came out firing against Menominee. He tallied seven strikeouts in five innings before allowing his first hit in the sixth. He was able to control his pitches and stay around the zone, something his coach was happy to see.

“(Noah) has had some control issues early in the year and after the first inning I told him (about his curveball) ‘you just have to trust it’ and after that he seemed to calm down and really get it goin’,” Hanson said. “He did a nice job of keeping the hitters off balanced.”

Although they took the loss, coach Beyer was still pleased with the way his pitchers did on the mound. Starzynski started the game and was relieved for Buddy Beyer. The pitchers however, weren’t necessarily the problem. The Menominee defense committed seven errors that led to six unearned runs.

“I thought Zach and Buddy both pitched very well, it was just unfortunate that we had a couple innings with too many errors that kind of put the game out of reach,” Beyer said. “We just have to do better in containing our errors, playing within ourselves and not trying to do too much.”

Esky visits Mosinee, Wis. today at 6, while Menominee (0-6) is at STAA for a doubleheader on Saturday.