Kingsford trumps Escanaba

Championship game is tonight at Dickson Field at 6:30

Justin St. Ours | Daily Press Escanaba’s Joey Garcia slides safely into home against Kingsford’s Bradly Steber (left) Monday in a Minor Boys’ (age 9-10) District 10 tournament game at Escanaba.

ESCANABA — The Kingsford Minor Boys’ All-Star baseball team (age 9-10) overwhelmed Escanaba 11-5 here Monday to force a final championship game in the Little League District 10 tournament tonight at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Kingsford came out swinging in the top of the first, building a 5-0 lead. Two walks and a series of passed balls put runners on second and third. Carson Chrisman then scored on a passed ball and Logan Grandin singled to score Alex Hemgren to give Kingsford a 2-0 lead. Two hits later, Bradly Steber singled to score Jonah Doenier and a pair of Escanaba errors allowed two more runners to score to increase Kingsford’s lead to 5-0.

“We had a rough first inning,” Escanaba manager Dan Garcia said. “We may have been a little overconfident coming in.”

Kingsford doubled down in the top of the third. Doenier drew a walk and Steber doubled to put two on. Both made it home on separate passed balls. After two more walks, Kelsi Chrisman singled to score Bradlee Bottesi and Mason Koski. Kingsford collected one more in the inning to lead 10-0 going into the bottom of the third.

Escanaba seized the chance to stay in it in the bottom of the fourth. Joey Garcia notched its only hit of the inning with a triple to left field. He then scored on a passed ball to keep Escanaba in the game and obtain its first run.

In the top of the fifth, Kingsford added one on the back of Caleb Erickson, who scored on a passed ball.

Escanaba reduced its deficit to 11-3 in the bottom of the inning thanks to a single from Kaiden Pastorick that scored Lincoln Bradfield and a sacrifice by Brody Ison that scored Nick Martinson.

“Kingsford’s a good team,” Garcia said.

“We had to come out and play better than we did. We made some errors, and they pitched well. We struggled just a little bit, but even good baseball teams lose sometimes. The guys never quit.”

Escanaba added two more on passed balls in the bottom of the sixth, but it wasn’t enough to seriously mount a threat.

“We played a good game and we’re looking forward to tomorrow,” Kingsford manager Chris Steber said.

Zahn Anderson took the loss for Escanaba over 2 1/3 innings. Escanaba then cycled through three more pitchers for the remainder of the contest.

Steber earned the win for Kingsford over 5 2/3 innings, and Mason Koski pitched in relief for the final out.

“I told (the team) that good baseball teams lose sometimes, and we’ve got to come back tomorrow and bring it,” Garcia said. “We’ve got to get aggressive again.”