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Broncos hand Esky first loss

Todd Rose | Daily Press Bark River-Harris’ Aidan Johnson (6) is cheered by the Bark River dugout on the way to home plate against Escanaba Thursday at Escanaba.

ESCANABA — The Bark River-Harris Broncos dealt the Escanaba Eskymos their first loss of the season Thursday afternoon with an 11-3 win in Escanaba.

“Well, any win is a great win,” said Broncos coach Al Botwright. “We absolutely appreciate Escanaba allowing us to come over here and play them. We knew that they were a very good baseball team, and we think we’re pretty good, too. So, we were ready for this game.”

Nick Javurek pitched for the Broncos through six innings. He had five strikeouts with five walks and allowed four hits for three runs (2 ER). Max Hall threw the final inning.

Several times throughout the game, Javurek kept his composure on the mound when things could have gone awry for the Broncos.

“(Javurek) is a senior athlete. He’s played football, basketball and baseball his entire life. If there’s anyone who’s not going to shrink away from the spotlight, it’s Nick Javurek,” said Botwright. “He is as mentally tough as they come, and he worked himself out of some jams.”

Botwright also highlighted Bark River’s performance supporting Javurek on the mound.

“He throws strikes, and we played a pretty good defensive game behind him,” he said. “All three phases kind of came together for us there. But, it always starts with the guys on the pitcher’s mound, and he did an excellent job.”

After two neck-and-neck — scoreless — innings, Bark River put up a combined nine runs in the third and fourth.

“We just absolutely maximized a few opportunities in those two innings,” said Botwright. “It was nice they came when they did. That kind of set the tone. I think that helped us to relax quite a bit, also. We were excited to play, but we were a little bit tight pregame and in the early stages. But, once we busted through with a couple runs, I think we played a lot more relaxed and with a lot more confidence.”

Carter Zawacki (3-4) and Johnny Robinette (2-4, 3 RBIs) had the bats going for the Broncos.

Botwright noted the game will help the Broncos mentally come the postseason.

“I just would like to thank Escanaba again for letting us come and play them. This is a beautiful ball field. I always enjoy the atmosphere here. This is as many fans as we’ve played in front of all year long, and until we get to districts, this might be as many fans as we’ll play in front of all year long.

“It’s great for our players to come into this atmosphere and experience that before the end of the year arises.”

Colin Arnt started on the mound for Escanaba and pitched the first two and 2/3 innings. He had three strikeouts with three walks and gave up two hits for four earned runs.

Trent Lawson relieved Arnt in the third and had one strikeout, two walks and allowed three hits for six runs (0 ER). Carter Hudson closed the game and had two strikeouts.

Aside from giving up six hits, the Eskymos had seven errors which cost them dearly.

“We played a bad game against a really good team,” said Escanaba coach Scott Hanson. “There’s really nothing else to say.”

The Eskymos take a day off before facing district draw Cheboygan in a doubleheader Saturday.

“Cheboygan is going to be a really good team, so we have to bounce back,” said Hanson. “So, no time to sit and worry about one game.”

Bark River heads to Newberry for tournament play Saturday.

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