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Tuesday November 13, 2018
Eskymos Struck By Lightning Twice In Appleton

APPLETON, Wis.---The folks involved with the Appleton North Lightning baseball program have probably heard the "struck by lightning" cliche thousands of times over the 17-year history of the program. But for the Escanaba Eskymos, that cliche is one accurate way of describing what happened between the two teams on Saturday.

The Lightning pounded out 25 hits and made just one defensive error all day long, cruising to a doubleader sweep of the Eskymos, 7-3 and 12-1.

It marked the second straight weekend that Escanaba has dropped a twinbill to a strong Wisconsin team, following a pair of losses last weekend to the Shawano Hawks.

Austin Young hauls in Jesus Cazarres' fly ball.
"It was little piece of 'humble pie' for us today," Eskymo Manager Kirk Schwalbach said. "I'm not disappointed in the effort, I'm just disappointed in some of the mental mistakes. They're a good baseball team. They're well-coached and it's a good program."

Schwalbach added that it was a positive day for his team, despite the losses.

"It's not about winning 40 games and then losing our first game in districts," he said. "We want to build to the end of the season, and get better, so that we're peaking at the districts. That's what playing these teams is going to help us to do. Find out where our weaknesses are, and work on them."

The first game of the doubleheader was actually well-played by both teams, and was in doubt until the middle innings, when the Lightning pulled away from a tight game.

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Tyler Skufca two-run single.
The Eskymos led, 3-2, in the second inning when sophomore Jeff Lyle singled home junior David Falish...and freshman Tyler Skufca drove home fellow freshman Sean Bissell, along with Lyle.

But the lead didn't last long as the Lightning went to work against Eskymo ace pitcher Alex DeHaan. Ben Emanuel and Eric Thaldorf led off with singles, and then after an excellent bunt up the third base side by Alex Henwood, Appleton's #9 hitter, Alec Rolein, came through with a two-run single to put the Lightning ahead for good, 4-3.

Appleton's Alec Rolein gets a two-run single.
They would have had more in the inning, but Connor Rolein's screamer toward left field was speared by Eskymo third baseman Tim Lueneburg, just a couple of inches above the ground.

Escanaba had its chances to re-tie the game, but the Eskymos hit into...and ran into...double plays in both the fourth and fifth innings. Bissell was hit by a pitch to start the fourth inning, but when Lyle's pop fly was caught at shortstop, Bissell was too far off the bag and he was doubled off. "He thought the ball got through," Schwalbach said.

Tyler Skufca gets a base hit.
And in the fifth inning, Skufca led off with a hit. He was erased on a fielder's choice groundout by Nick Vandermissen. Vandermissen stole second, but when DeHaan grounded out to third, Vandermissen tried to advance to third as the throw went to first, but he was tagged out after a pinpoint throw across the diamond.

Nevertheless, Schwalbach was impressed once again with his freshmen, Skufca and Bissell. Skufca had two hits in the opener, and Bissell had a hit, threw out a runner, and saved several wild pitches behind the plate on throws in the dirt.

"Tyler had a real nice first game, kept his poise, got the bat on the ball," the coach said. "He made a couple nice plays in the field. Sean did a nice job behind the plate again. He's gonna get better. I'm proud of both of them, and of all of the guys actually."

DeHaan did his best to keep the potent Appleton lineup in check. But the depth in the Lightning batting order was tough to overcome. North has two All-Staters...Clark Eagan (a University of Connecticut recruit) and Jesus Cazarres, a large boy with a mean stick who moved to Appleton from the inner-city of Oakland, California, as a freshman.

Alex DeHaan fires a fastball Saturday.
DeHaan managed to keep it a 4-3 game until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Connor Rolein led off with a boombing double up the gap. One out later, Cazarres got an RBI single...a sharply-hit ball that made it 5-3.

Later in the inning, Thaldorf singled home an insurance run to make it 6-3.

And in the sixth inning, Cazarres ripped another RBI hit to close the scoring. The only time DeHaan managed to retire Cazarres was in the first inning, when Cazarres hit a 360-foot fly ball that Austin Young tracked down in deep center field. It is 380 feet from the plate to center field here.

DeHaan pitched a complete game, yielding 12 hits. All seven runs against him were earned, as he struck out three batters and threw 98 pitches. He walked just one man.

Alex DeHaan strikes out Clark Eagan.
"Alex struggled with his off-speed stuff," Schwalbach said. "He's got a good arm, a lively arm, and the ball moves well. It's just that we've got to get him the confidence to throw that change-up and curveball. If he gets to do that, he can really work off the other stuff. The fastball."

Appleton pitcher Eric Thaldorf.
Thaldorf got the win for the Lightning, allowing three runs on six hits in four innings. Emanuel pitched the final three innings in relief, allowing no runs on three hits.

After a break for lunch, the two teams hit the field for the second game of this non-conference doubleheader. And in this one, the Lightning were in control from start to finish.

Emanuel pitched again, and retired all nine Eskymos he faced, using just 17 pitches to record those nine outs. Then Eagan, the D-I recruit who is only a junior, pitched the final two innings before the mercy rule took effect.

Devin Olsen's single up the middle in the fourth inning broke up the no-hitter, but he was doubled off base later in the inning on a caught pop up. Speaking of pop-ups, the Lightning got their big lead in part because the Eskymos couldn't catch any.

Appleton scored six runs in the second inning as the Eskymo defense sprung several leaks, with Falsh, Young, and Vandermissen all losing pop flies in the sun.

"I asked the boys why we were having so much trouble with the sun, but they (Lightning players) were not," Schwalbach said. "When things don't go your way, they don't go your way. Everything seemed to fall their way. We hit some line drives right at guys. But that's baseball. We'll move on from there."

Sean Bissell tries to make the tag, but the Lightning runner is safe.
Appleton North Head Coach David Eagan was impressed with the Eskymos' sportsmanship.

"It was a good day," Eagan said. "It was competitive baseball. And Escanaba's got some good kids. My son (Clark Eagan) came back and told me 'they are one of the most fun teams that we've played. They joke around with us on the bases, and were having fun'. I am looking forward to coming up to Escanaba to play you guys next year."

Connor Rolein, Courtney Watkins and Grant Yost both had RBI hits during that second inning, and Cazarres contributed a sacrafice fly.  Falish managed to pitch just 3 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs on 11 hits.

Lyle pitched the final 1 2/3 innings and was tagged for three runs on two base hits.

With the sweep, Appleton North improved to 4-3 overall, while the Eskymos dropped to 6-4 on the season. "We're gonna gain from this," Schwalbach said. "We'll go back to work on Monday (at practice) and try to correct some things."

Escanaba hosts the new Stephenson High School baseball team on Tuesday. Game time for the Eskymos-Eagles game is 6:00 ET. It will be broadcast live on WCHT-AM (600), and it will be streamed live on

Main photo above: Third baseman Tim Lueneburg gets the ball as Connor Rolein dives back into third base. Photo by Lisa Dagenais.

See more photos in the "article highlights" box, with the first 11 by Lee Mrotek, the next six by Sheila Olsen and the final eight by Lisa Dagenais. Video clips taken by Mike Dagenais.

Jeff Lyle is safe at home plate.

Choose team:
Date Time Opponent Score Record
5:30 PM
Marquette Redmen
12 - 2 (W)
5:00 PM
at Norway Knights
13 - 0 (W)
4:00 PM
Rudyard Bulldogs
9 - 0 (W)
6:30 PM
Rudyard Bulldogs
9 - 4 (W)
12:30 PM
Shawano Hawks
1 - 7 (L)
3:00 PM
Shawano Hawks
0 - 1 (L)
5:30 PM
Norway Knights
17 - 0 (W)
6:00 PM
Kingsford Legion Blues
14 - 7 (W)
1:00 PM
at Appleton North Lightning
3 - 7 (L)
3:30 PM
at Appleton North Lightning
1 - 12 (L)
6:00 PM
Stephenson Eagles
14 - 4 (W)
5:00 PM
Negaunee Miners
6 - 5 (W)
12:00 PM
at Saginaw Heritage Hawks
7 - 3 (W)
2:30 PM
at Mt. Pleasant Oilers
2 - 5 (L)
6:00 PM
at Stephenson Eagles
12 - 2 (W)
5:30 PM
at DePere Redbirds
5 - 6 (L)
12:30 PM
Negaunee Miners
3 - 2 (W)
5:00 PM
Marquette Redmen
7 - 1 (W)
7:30 PM
at Gladstone Indians
4 - 5 (L)
5:30 PM
at Marquette Redmen
14 - 3 (W)
12:00 PM
Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils
11 - 3 (W)
2:20 PM
Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils
10 - 0 (W)
5:00 PM
at Marinette Marines
3 - 13 (L)
6:00 PM
at Kingsford Legion Blues
7 - 8 (L)
7:00 PM
Alpena Wildcats
8 - 2 (W)
12:30 PM
Petoskey Northmen
2 - 4 (L)
5:00 PM
Negaunee Miners
6 - 3 (W)
5:00 PM
at Negaunee Miners
15 - 8 (W)
10:00 AM
at Shepherd
5 - 6 (L)
12:00 PM
at Alpena Wildcats
9 - 0 (W)
2:30 PM
at Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils
5 - 6 (L)
6:00 PM
Gladstone Indians
3 - 4 (L)
2:30 PM
at Cheboygan Chiefs
9 - 7 (W)
6:00 PM
at Petoskey Northmen
9 - 2 (W)
12:30 PM
at Remus Chippewa Hills
1 - 8 (L)

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Thursday July 26, 2012
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Tuesday July 24, 2012
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Monday July 23, 2012
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Saturday July 7, 2012
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Saturday June 30, 2012
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Friday June 29, 2012
Lamb Shuts Down Marquette As Cubs Post 3-0 Win
Wednesday June 27, 2012
Escanaba Junior Cubs Sweep Twinbill In Daggett
Monday June 25, 2012
Mistake-Prone Cubs Lose Twice; Out of Tourney
Saturday June 23, 2012
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Friday June 22, 2012
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Tuesday June 19, 2012
Escanaba Eskymos Celebrate Successful Season
Tuesday June 19, 2012
Escanaba Junior Cubs Get Fathers Day DH Sweep
Sunday June 17, 2012
Escanaba Cubs Open Season With Five In Green Bay
Sunday June 17, 2012
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Sunday June 17, 2012
Eskymo Baseball Season Ends In Regional Semifinal
Sunday June 10, 2012
Eskymo Baseball Prepares For Regional Challenge
Friday June 8, 2012
District Champs! Eskymos Finally Put It Together
Monday June 4, 2012
Eskymo District Playoff Games Rained Out In Soo
Saturday June 2, 2012
Weyers Complete Game Leads Tribe Past Eskymos
Thursday May 31, 2012
Eskymos Drop Two Of Three In Sault Ste. Marie
Sunday May 27, 2012
Eskymos Top Miners Under Gale Force Winds, 15-8
Thursday May 24, 2012
Eskymos Rally To Salvage Third Place In Tourney
Saturday May 19, 2012
Falish, Skufca Lead Eskymos To Victory
Friday May 18, 2012
Errors Costly Again As Eskymos Blow Late Lead
Thursday May 17, 2012
Mercy Killing: Eskymos Finish Zero-For-Wisconsin
Tuesday May 15, 2012
Eskymos Sweep Mistake-Prone Sault Blue Devils
Saturday May 12, 2012
Eskymos Overcome Mistakes; Win In Marquette
Thursday May 10, 2012
Indians Hang On To Beat Eskymos In Rivalry Battle
Wednesday May 9, 2012
DeHaan, Kleiman Lead Eskymos To Tourney Sweep
Sunday May 6, 2012
Eskymos Start Fast But Fall Again In Wisconsin 6-5
Friday May 4, 2012
Olsen Leads Eskymos To 12-2 Win At Stephenson
Wednesday May 2, 2012
Eskymos Beat Saginaw; Nearly Topple Mt. Pleasant
Sunday April 29, 2012
Eskymo Baseball Prepares For Saginaw Showcase
Friday April 27, 2012
Eskymos Rally For Walk-Off Win Over Negaunee
Thursday April 26, 2012
Eskymos Top Stephenson In Sloppy Baseball Match
Tuesday April 24, 2012
Eskymos Rally To Beat Kingsford In Cold Rain
Friday April 20, 2012
Eskymos Shivver, Roll Past Norway Again, 17-0
Tuesday April 17, 2012
Eskymos Suffer Power Outage In Loss To Shawano
Saturday April 14, 2012
Delta County Boy Scouts Help Eskymos With Flag
Saturday April 14, 2012
Eskymos Sweep Rudyard To Start Big Homestand
Friday April 13, 2012
Escanaba Eskymos Rip Norway To Go To 2-0
Wednesday April 11, 2012
Eskymos Open Season With Win Over Marquette
Tuesday April 10, 2012
Young Eskymos Ready For 2012 Baseball Season
Sunday April 8, 2012
Schwalbach Hired As New Eskymo Baseball Coach
Saturday March 17, 2012
Eskymo Baseball, Softball Teams Start Practice
Friday March 16, 2012