WYOMING, Mich. - After putting on a display such as the one the Escanaba Junior League (age 13-14) girls did throughout the first four games of the state tournament, anything but a title may have been a letdown. Escanaba did not disappoint and completed one of the most dominant runs seen at this level, winning the state championship with a 7-3 victory over Hudsonville Wednesday at Pinery Park.
Escanaba led the whole way after scoring one run in the first inning and tacking five more on in the third. J.J. Laviolette scored two runs and Mackenzie Leisner added two more.
Katie Ross pitched six innings to earn the victory, giving up five hits and fanning four. Sam Connor closed the game out with a perfect seventh inning.
The three runs allowed were the first scored on Escanaba during the six game title march. Esky outscored its opponents 82-3.
The team had Kayla VanPortfleit in their thoughts. She was unable to play after suffering an injury in practice Tuesday. Escanaba manager Jamie Segorski said she will be available to play next week.
In the semifinal, Escanaba rolled over Croswell-Lexington 9-0. Michelle LaFave ripped a double and belted a two-run homer in the seventh inning.
"It was just a bomb over left-centerfield," said Segorski. Connor hit a single and two doubles.
Ross earned the victory on the mound, pitching four innings of no-hit ball and striking out four. Connor worked the last three innings and allowed three hits with one strikeout.
"Our pitching and defense was there and our bats just came alive throughout this whole tournament," said Segorski. "We put so many balls out to the fence and hit the gaps. We had extra base hits every game. We scored around 80 runs and gave up only three, it was just fantastic. It was as dominant a performance as I've ever seen these girls have."
Escanaba will now have a week off before reporting to Akron, Ohio Aug. 3 for the regional tournament.