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Esky majors and Gladstone minors earn All-Star wins

ESCANABA — The Escanaba Major Boys’ Little League All-Stars (age 11-12) put the ball in play often here Thursday night, needing just four innings to defeat Tri-County 13-2 in an area tournament opener.

Tri-County faces Gladstone in the area tourney finale today at 6 at Karl Dickson Memorial Field.

Esky hosts the top Norway area finisher in a District 10 opener Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Esky All-Stars trailed 2-0 after the opening frame, then erupted for seven runs in the second before adding two in the third and four in the fourth.

“We put the ball in play, and it paid off,” said Esky coach Bill Hughes. “Their pitcher did a great job in the first inning. We have a deep pocket of pitchers right now. We’re pretty well set.”

Mikaiden Hughes went 3-for-3, leading off the second with a single to leftfield. He also drove in Esky’s seventh run on a double to left in the second and raised the count to 10-2 on a triple to left in the fourth.

Derkos added two hits, including an RBI single to left, which gave Esky a 6-2 lead in the second and a leadoff double to left in the fourth.

Brody Ison and Kaiden Pastorek also drove in runs with singles to right-center and right, respectively, in the fourth.

Losing pitcher Isaac Rondeau retired Esky in order in the first, then allowed six runs on five hits in the second. He struck out one and walked one.

“What hurt us the most is we left the bases loaded in the first and fourth inning,” said Tri-County manager Pat Dahm. “Isaac pitched a heck of a good first inning, then well pulled him when his pitch count reached 35. Some of the guys weren’t changing speeds on their fastball.

“They had a good pitcher, but our top six hitters were making good contact.”

Derkos went the distance for the win, striking out seven, walking six and allowing four hits.

Tri-County scored its first run on Judd Rondeau’s single to right-center, and Ryder Kroupa made it 2-0 on a single to right.

Esky committed an error, and Tri-County had three.

It took three hours, 20 minutes to decide the outcome of a Minor Boys’ Little League (age 9-10) area opener as Gladstone squeezed past Tri-County 19-18.

Logan DeMay tied the contest at 18 on a two-run double to center, then scored the game-winner on a fielding error in the sixth.

“It was a fight to the finish, but the kids came through in the end,” said Gladstone manager Amber Quigley. “We used seven pitchers, trying to figure out who can pitch the most strikes, and they had a good pitcher. We didn’t know what to expect. We have 11 boys on the team, and we’re proud of their effort.”

Gladstone led 16-13 after five before Tri-County answered with five runs in the sixth, taking advantage of three bases-loaded walks, a hit batsman and a throwing error.

Tri-County, which used three pitchers, trailed 9-2 after two frames prior to scoring seven times to tie the score in the third.

“That’s what the game’s all about,” said Tri-County manager Carl Brunngraeber. “When we got down 9-2, we told the kids we had two options, and they kept fighting. It was hard to adjust to that many pitchers (seven) because you have different speeds and types of pitchers, but the kids adjusted well. We hit the ball, and the kids were patient and I was absolutely pleased with that.”

Aiden Smith, Jazsyn Lancour and DeMay had two hits each for Gladstone. Cason Brunngraeber and Trent Beauchamp had two apiece for Tri-County.

Gladstone meets Esky today at 4. The winner returns to Dickson Field to face Tri-County in the area tourney finale Saturday at 3.

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