Escanaba baseball pounces early, steals 11 bases to secure win over Gladstone

Escanaba senior Chase Cloutier safely slides into third base during a game against Gladstone on April 19, 2024 at Al Ness Field. Cloutier stole four bases in the Eskymos’ 8-4 rivalry win over the Braves. ("The Big Dog" Mitch Vosburg/Daily Press)

ESCANABA — Snow wasn’t the only thing that flew inside the confines of Al Ness Field on Friday.

Escanaba baseball swiped 11 bases and never surrendered an early four-run advantage in an 8-4 win over Gladstone.

“Shoot, I’ll take it playing as well as we did on a day like this,” Esky skipper Scott Hanson said. “Obviously both teams played in these conditions, but it’s definitely positive. I think we got some good stuff going.”

Fresh off a pair of dazzling pitching performances in a doubleheader sweep over Negaunee on Thursday, Gladstone had all but two pitchers available for Friday’s showdown. Sophomore Trevor Thorbahn got the start.

Thorbahn walked Chase Cloutier and Nick Chiu on his first nine pitches. Eli Gardner cranked a 3-1 pitch to the grass in centerfield to score Cloutier, who swiped second base during Chiu’s at bat. Bon LaChance then took a 3-2 pitch for ball four to load the bases to give Ben Johnson a golden opportunity.

Thorbahn hurled two wild pitches to score Chiu and Gardner before Johnson popped out to left field. A Braves error allowed LaChance to score from third base for a 4-0 lead.

Mikaiden Hughes took ball one for the first pitch of his at bat. The second pitch hit him.

“He just wasn’t comfortable,” Braves coach Tyler Swanson said of Thorbahn. “He couldn’t find his release point. It’s hard, it’s cold out, there’s all those things that make it tough. He struggled a little bit there and couldn’t seem to find (his rhythm).

Hughes was the final batter Thorbahn faced, allowing four runs (three earned) with three walks in 1/3 of an inning on the mound before being swapped out for Cooper Sanville.

“Trevor’s going to be there for us,” Swanson said. “We have confidence in him. He’s going to be fine. Today just wasn’t his day. That happens sometimes.”

The Eskymos tacked on three more runs in their half of the third off an RBI single from Brody Ison and two passed balls which allowed base runners at third base to touch home plate for a 7-0 lead.

The Braves began to find a sign of life in the batter’s box in the fifth inning against Esky’s Lennox Peacock, who had allowed one hit through the first four frames.

Gavin Frossard mashed a 2-0 pitch into left field for a base hit. Austin Pepin drew a walk. Casey Alworden snuck a ground ball past Johnson for a base hit.

After appearing to be down and out for the count, the Braves loaded the bases with no outs, and after John Soderman drew a walk on four-straight pitches to scratch across the Braves first run of the contest, momentum suddenly appeared to be on the Braves side for the first time all day. Nate Young earned an RBI groundout and Isaac Kethcum earned a RBI sacrifice fly, but Peacock got Sanville to ground out to end the threat and keep Esky’s lead at 7-3 midway through five.

“It would be really easy to cash it in and say ‘OK, we’ll get the 10-run rule and go home.’ But we clawed back to make it a ballgame,” Swanson said. “I like the fight that we saw. We just have to eliminate mistakes early and not dig ourselves into a hole that’s too big to get out of.”

Alworden finished 2-for-3 and scored twice. Ketchum finished with two RBI. Sanville allowed three runs (two earned) off three hits to go with a trio of walks and strikeout across 3 2/3 innings of relief. Young allowed one earned run off one hit with two walks and three punchouts in two innings of relief.

The Braves host Manistqiue for a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Cloutier stole four bases and drew three walks, scored twice and earned one hit. Gardner finished 1-for-2, drawing two walks and stole two bases while scoring and driving in one run. Johnson finished 1-for-4 with two stolen bases and allowed one earned run off one hit with a pair of walks and strikeouts in two innings of relief. Brody Ison earned an RBI base hit and a stolen base. Hughes finished 1-for-2 with a stolen base.

Peacock earned the win, allowing three earned runs off four hits with a trio of walks and strikeouts across five innings of work on the mound.

The Eskymos won’t have much time to celebrate over the Braves. Esky is currently slated for four games in four days against Kingsford, Negaunee, Notre Dame De La Baie Academy and Appleton East beginning on Wednesday.

But Hanson likes where the Ekymos stand at this point in the season.

“I don’t think we had a start like that in a game,” Hanson said of Friday’s early efforts. “I think the Iron Mountain game last week was a slow start and then we had a big inning later. We haven’t had that big inning right off the bat. I really liked seeing that. I like our team chemistry. (seeing) guys get after it and work hard. Good things are going to happen.”


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