Esky baseball falls against Gladstone
ESCANABA — It all came down to the final inning Friday evening in Escanaba as the Gladstone Braves put three runs on the board in the seventh — and backed them up on defense — to defeat the Escanaba Eskymos 8-5.
“It’s awesome,” said Braves coach Joe Darmogray. “I told them today when we went to batting practice at our facility, I said, ‘Hey, you guys come to Escanaba with 110 percent, we’re going to win. You guys got to have 110 percent every single play,’ and they brought it.”
Entering the top of the seventh, the score was tied up at five. After lead-off batter Tyler Darmogray flew out to centerfielder Scott Hiller, the Braves loaded up the bases with Nick Martin putting a bunt down to reach first, Braden Sundquist walking on four balls and Cam Kelly reaching on an intentional walk. Noah Peterson would strike out next, leaving the Braves in a lucrative yet precarious position.
With two outs — and bases loaded — Austin Bagwell drew the walk from Trent Lawson to push Martin across the plate.
Enter freshman Casey Alworden into the batter box with two outs and three on.
The pitch left Lawson’s hand, and Alworden lit it up, hitting a bullet of a ground ball into left field for a two-run RBI single stretched to a double on the throw home.
Though, Lawson finished the inning strong for the Eskymos, striking out Noah Peterson swinging for the third out.
In the bottom half, Escanaba got off to a good start for their attempt at a comeback as Bon LaChance — who led the team in hitting going 2-4 at the plate — hit a fly ball to right field for a single.
Hiller was up next for the Mos and made contact to put the ball in play. However, Tyler Darmogray was on his toes at short, scooping up the ball, tagging second to get Hiller out and throwing to Aeden Creten at first to record the double play.
Sundquist put the final nail in the coffin next as he struck out Austin Nelson swinging to earn the win.
“It’s always a big rivalry between the two teams,” said coach Darmogray. “We played Gladstone baseball, and that’s what we asked of the kids. … We had clutch hits, our pitching was awesome and I couldn’t ask for any more. It was great.”
Sundquist pitched three and two-thirds innings and finished with three strikeouts, one hit and one walk for zero runs.
Tyler Darmogray started the game for Gladstone and went three and a third. While he also had three strikeouts, he put four on with walks and allowed three hits for five runs, two earned.
Despite making six errors, the Braves weren’t alone in mistakes as the Eskymos had five errors of their own.
Jared Hanson toed the rubber to begin the game for the Eskymos and went five innings giving up five runs — three earned — on three hits with five walks. While he took care of all three outs in the first with strikeouts, it was a bit of a shaky start for Hanson as he opened three separate at-bats with three balls. He recovered well, though, to strike out 11 total in his five innings.
Lawson — who shouldered the loss — was the closer for Escanaba as he pitched the final two innings. He fanned two at the plate, walked three and gave up three earned runs.
Escanaba coach Scott Hanson commented that the game came down to untimely errors and Gladstone taking advantage.
“That was pretty much what it comes down to,” coach Hanson. “Six out of their eight runs came from guys being walked. I know Jared early in the game, you know, you can’t put runners on early. And I’m sure he was a little amped up early. But, that kind of hurt us.”
Coach Hanson, who noted Tyler Darmogray’s defensive efforts and a triple smash to centerfield by Cam Kelly, mentioned some close plays that could have switched the game’s momentum while giving kudos to the Gladstone squad.
“We had a play at first that the throw was just a little short and we had a ball in the outfield where Zimmerman was just a little short, almost there. If those plays go our way, maybe it’s a different story,” he said “But really, credit to Gladstone. They played well, they made plays when they had to and they took advantage when we opened the door.”