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Monday July 22, 2024

Click the thumbnails to see videos and pictures from the Escanaba-Kingsford game, as well as post-game comments from Nick Chiu and Lenny Peacock.

It went from a moment of joy to a moment of heartbreak in a just a few hours Friday for the Escanaba High School baseball team.


From the exhilaration of having a combined no-hitter in a hard-earned 1-0 win over the Kingsford Flivvers in the district semifinals to the sadness of a marathon 6-5 loss to the Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils in the championship game, the emotions ran the gamut.


When it was over, it was the Blue Devils, and not the Eskymos, who earned a spot in the MHSAA Regional Semifinals on Wednesday in Gaylord.


In the championship game, the Eskymos could not get good enough pitching from six different guys who threw the ball, combining to walk 14 batters in the nine-inning loss.


And offensively, the team's production literally dried up under the 90-degree heat at Al Ness Field. The Eskymos managed only two hits in the semifinal win over Kingsford, and just three base hits in nine innings in the championship game loss.


Still, the Eskymos had chances to walk it off in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.


In the seventh, Matt Kaven led off with a walk, and got bunted to second base by Ben Johnson. But Nick Chiu popped up and Kaiden Brown struck out, ending the threat.


In the eighth, Chase Cloutier drew a one-out walk, and after Eli Gardner grounded out, he went to second on a bad throw. Trent Lawson walked to put two men on, but Bon LaChance grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.


In the top of the ninth inning, a walk, error, and base hit by Garrett Gorsuch loaded the bases with no outs. Odin Medrick followed with a base it to left field to bring home the go-ahead run for the Blue Devils.


Rookie Eskymo pitcher Cannon Arnt was able to wiggle out of the rest of that jam, but Josh Lumsden got the Eskymos 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to seal the Eskymos' fate.


Earlier in the day, it was a great pitcher's duel between Escanaba freshman Lenny Peacock and Kingsford's Gavin Trevillian.

Both pitchers were in command all morning long, and it looked like the Flivvers had cashed in on a walk and a dropped third strike when a balk was called on Peacock, seemingly bringing home a Kingsford run.


The infield umpire's call ended up being reversed when both umpires conferred on the rule of Peacock's first-and-third step-off bluff.


The only run of the game came in the second inning when LaChance hit a slicing line drive to left field that bounced away when the left fielder misread the ball and went the wrong way. Trevillian was able to get the next two outs, but Chiu rifled a shot to the right field warning track for an RBI double to put Escanaba in front, 1-0.


Peacock was overpowering with his fastball, striking out 12 batters and throwing a no-hitter into the seventh inning before nearly reaching his pitch count. Gardner came in to get the final two outs, taking his share of the combined no-hitter.


It was a heartbreaking loss for Kingsford, and for a second straight year, a balk played a big part in the Flivvers' misery.

Last year in the districts, Trevillian was called for a balk that gave Sault Ste. Marie an extra-inning win over the Flivvers. This time, a reversed balk call and a misjudged fly ball in left field hurt Kingsford's effort.


Trevillian struck out seven and allowed only two hits in taking the loss.


Kingsford finished its season with a 11-7 record. Escanaba, also losing by a single run in the districts for a second straight year, ended its season with a 24-6 record.

Sault Ste. Marie improved to 19-11 on the season.

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