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  • LLSB 9-11 States 7/21: Gladstone 16, Sparta 0
  • LLSB 9-11 States 7/21: Grosse Pointe 12, Marquette 1
6006 articles
Monday July 22, 2024
'SMALL BALL' WINS: Eskymos Bunt Past Redmen

Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos, and to hear post-game comments from Nolan Bink, Eli Gardner, and Coach Scott Hanson.

The Escanaba High School baseball team turned to “small ball” and solid relief pitching to capture a share of the Great Northern Conference championship Wednesday night, turning back the Marquette Redmen, 4-1, at Al Ness Field.


The Eskymos had five bunt singles among their 12 base hits, and despite stranding eight base runners (six in scoring position) and having three others thrown out on the base paths. Once again, it was Eli Gardner who came through on the mound, after Eskymo ace Bon LaChance had his second straight short outing due to wildness.


Just like in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday, LaChance struggled with walks and wild pitches. Also just like on Saturday, Gardner came in to get the Eskymos out of a tight situation with men on base, and then slam the door the rest of the game to earn the win.


Marquette ace pitcher Isaac Sarles pitched against the Eskymos for the second time, to go along with two pitching outings against co-GNC champion Gladstone.


Sarles threw well enough, getting himself out of bases-loaded-no-out jams in both the first and third innings with only minimal damage.

But he got no run-support and fell to 3-4 on the season despite having an Earned Run Average of 2.26.


Marquette's only run came in the second inning when Gibby Jezewski was caught trying to steal second base while AJ Martin came home on the delayed steal.


Escanaba used “small ball” to get five of the eleven hits it had off of Sarles. One of them was a squeeze bunt in the first inning by freshman Nolan Bink, bringing home Chase Cloutier, who had led off the inning with a single.


Freshman Brian Boutilier executed a bunt single in the second inning, Ben Johnson put down a nice bunt single up the third base line in the third inning, and fellow freshman Lenny Peacock had a bunt single in the fifth inning.


Another nicely-placed bunt by Nick Chiu in the third inning was also executed well, but Sarles made a great play off of the mound to bare-hand the ball and get a force at third base.


Marquette catcher Dallas Cobe had a nice game behind the plate, throwing out a runner trying to steal third and putting the tag on Johnson trying to score in the fifth inning.


Chiu turned in a great defensive play in center field when Jezewski lofted a shot ticketed for the right-center field gap with two men on base in the fourth inning. Chiu, playing toward left, raced a long way into the gap to catch the ball. Marquette did not score in that inning as LaChance got a ground out and fly out to end that inning.

In the third inning, Bink, playing in left field, robbed Marquette lead-off man Aiden McCullum of extra bases when he sprinted in to catch a hard-it line drive.


Escanaba played with four freshmen in the line-up, as all of the seniors were gone to participate in the Scholarship Night ceremonies at the high school. Marquette was also shorthanded, playing without lead-off man Logan Peterson, who was volunteering at the Bay Cliff Health Camp for disabled children in Big Bay.


Sarles gave up four runs on eleven hits, but, again, five of them were infield hits.


Gardner threw four innings of relief to earn the win, allowing no runs, one hit, no walks, and striking out five batters. LaChance got a no-decision, going three-plus innings, giving up only one hit and one unearned run, but walking five batters.


LaChance threw 66 pitches, with only 31 of them strikes. Gardner, meanwhile, threw 45 pitches, with 30 of them being strikes.


Cloutier, who has been behind the plate for all of Escanaba's 27 games, was flawless back there as well. And he had three base hits in the lead-off spot of the batting order. Gardner and LaChance both added two hits for Escanaba.


Jezewski, a sophomore, had both of Marquette's base hits.


Escanaba improved to 22-5 on the season, and the Eskymos have won twelve straight games since a loss to Marquette on May 10. The Redmen, meanwhile, have lost five straight games and six of their last seven since that May 10 game. Marquette is 8-12.


The junior varsity game was won by Escanaba, 13-3, in five innings, at Tapani Field. Ashton Rymkod pitched four innings to earn the win, and Cale Carter finished up with a scoreless fifth inning. Bink and Boutilier both had two hits in that game before racing over to Al Ness Field to fill in for seniors in the varsity game.


Marquette is scheduled to face Menominee on Thursday, while the Eskymos will host Norway under the lights Thursday night. The Eskymo-Knights game will start at about 7:30 ET, after the junior varsity game, which will start at 5:00 ET.


The Eskymos-Knights varsity game will be broadcast on FM-93.5 and AM-600 in Escanaba, on AM-1450 in Norway, and on-line at www.rrnsports.com.

Negaunee 13, Houghton 0, Game One
Negaunee 11, Houghton 8, Game Two
North Central 15, Stephenson 1, Game One
North Central 16, Stephenson 2, Game Two

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