‘Badger’ brilliant, Esky conquers Knights

Escanaba sophomore Lennox Peacock fires a pitch during a game against Norway on May 23, 2024 at Al Ness Field in Escanaba. Peacock allowed two hits, walked three batter and struckout 10 in a complete game shutout, a 1-0 Escanaba win. ("The Big Dog" Mitch Vosburg/Daily Press)

ESCANABA — Baseball can be as simple as it is fickle. But as Escanaba sophomore Lennox Peacock, also dubbed “the badger” was firing warm-up pitches in the bullpen inside the confines of Al Ness Field before Thursday’s game against Norway, Peacock felt sharp.

He felt his fastball was on point. His changeup was effective. His slurve was also on point.

Then he stepped onto the mound to duel with Knights’ senior Alex Ortman, a tremendous pitcher in his own right.

Peacock entered the top of the seventh with a 1-0 lead. The Eskymos and Knights combined to muster three hits and commit three errors.

But as Peacock let out a victory scream after getting Ian Popp to swing and miss at strike three, he knew that what he felt in the bullpen transferred into winning a duel for the ages.

His fastball was on point. His changeup was effective. His slurve was lights out.

Peacock allowed two hits, walked three and struckout 10 as the Eskymos claimed a 1-0 win over the Knights on senior night.

“It brings confidence going out there and trusting my defense,” Peacock said. “They made great plays today. I was trusting myself throwing pitches in counts. If some don’t work out, that’s just the game. That’s how it works.”

Ortman went on to allow one hit, a lead-off single to Nick Chiu in the fifth, across 6 2/3 innings.

“He’s a good pitcher,” Peacock said of Ortman. “They have a great team. I mean, hats off to them. They’re a solid program.”

But the Eskymos (14-14) got to Ortman early.

Ortman got Esky lead-off hitter Chase Cloutier to smack a 2-2 pitch for a ground ball. Knights’ third baseman Bryce Adams had a good read off the bat, but the ball landed two inches in front of his gloves and bounced over his glove.

From there Ortman found himself in a ying-yang scenario with the strike zone. A six-pitch walk to Eli Gardner put two ducks on the pond, but was immediately followed by Ortman freezing Esky senior Ben Johnson on a called strike three.

A five-pitch walk to Bon LaChance to load the bases was met with three-straight swinging strikes to retire Mikaiden Hughes for the inning’s second out.

All that stood in Ortman’s way was a showdown with Eskymo freshman Brody Ison. Five pitches later Ison drew ball four. A two-out, bases-loaded walk gave Esky a 1-0 lead which stood until

“I wasn’t mentally prepared, that first inning really got me,” Ortman said. “After that inning my pitching was alright, but my teammates made plays in the infield. The first inning was (me) not really prepared.”

While Norway was held scoreless, it did have a few chances to ruin Peacock’s complete game shutout.

Cameron Varda drew a two-out walk. A single by Landon Amundson was not only the first base hit of the game, but gave the Knights runners at the corners with Owen Baij coming to the plate. Baij looked at strike one and grounded into a fielders’ choice to strand the pair of ducks on the pond.

Popp came in clutch in the fifth, belting a loud two-out single. Varda drew a walk to put two Knights aboard once again, but Amundson grounded out to Peacock to end the inning.

Ortman drew a one-out walk in the sixth, but Cole Baij and Adams struck out to end the threat.

“He’s a heck of a pitcher. I couldn’t even hit the ball,” Ortman said of Peacock. “I did get a walk, which was nice, but he’s a heck of a pitcher.”

The Eskymos host Superior Central for a doubleheader in their regular season at 5 p.m. Tuesday.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today