Escanaba Eskymos take advantage of Marquette Redmen mistakes for baseball sweep
MARQUETTE — Sometimes in baseball, a team just finds a way to get a win, even when the statistics may not necessarily be in its favor.
That’s what the Escanaba baseball team did Monday as the Eskymos came back twice to sweep a doubleheader at Marquette.
In the opener, EHS topped the Redmen 4-3 in nine innings despite only getting two hits, then prevailed 7-5 in the nightcap.
“We easily could’ve walked out of here 0-and-2 today and we ended up with a sweep,” Escanaba manager Scott Hanson said. “It’s weird how baseball is like that. I guess we played just well enough to win.”
In Game 1, Marquette got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the opening inning when Erik Johnson scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Peterson. Escanaba tied it with a run in the top of the third on a sac fly by Tyler Lawson, but the Redmen answered back with a run in their half of the frame to retake the lead.
The Redmen padded their advantage to 3-1 in the fifth when Peter VandenAvond scored on a base hit by Peterson. They seemed to be on secure footing with pitcher Brendan Kaski working on a no-hitter.
However, Marquette’s good fortune didn’t last. In their last at-bat in the top of the sixth, things started to go the Eskymos’ way. With one out, Esky’s Craig Kamin smacked a single to right field that scored two runs and tie the game 3-3.
After a quiet seventh and eighth, things got interesting again in the ninth. In the top of the inning, Kamin smacked an RBI single to give the Eskymos their first lead.
Esky had a chance to extend its lead, but poor baserunning cost the Eskymos. With runners at the corners and none out, Esky’s Grant LaMarche flied out to center. Kamin tried to score on the play, but was caught in a rundown between third base and home and was eventually tagged out. During that same sequence, Esky’s Austin Willette was caught in a rundown between second and third and was also tagged out, completing a triple play for the Redmen.
“I thought in general that we pitched well and we kept ourselves close and then we just made some plays when we had to to tie it up and go into extras,” Hanson said. “Even though we won, it felt like a game we lost, partly based on some of our baserunning errors and stuff like that. But we’ll take a win any way we can get it.”
However, Marquette couldn’t build on the momentum from the triple play as it went down quietly in the bottom of the frame to give the Eskymos the comeback win.
Redmen manager Spencer Larson said the game simply came down to mistakes in the field.
“The short answer is we made three errors in the same inning,” he said. “That last inning is what gave the game away. It was errors on routine ground balls that we make nine times out of 10 and we just didn’t.
“I think it was a lack of focus and it looked like they took their eyes off the ball right at the last second and they bobbled it off their wrist or off the side of the glove. It was just simple mental mistakes.”
Josh Bruntjens got the win in relief for Esky as he gave up one hit and two walks in 3 2/3 innings of work. Jon Jason was tagged with the loss for Marquette as he gave up one run on two hits with a strikeout.
In the second game, Esky got its offense going early. In the top of the first, Kamin scored on a fielder’s choice to put the Eskymos up 1-0. Then in the third, Esky added two more runs on back-to-back RBI singles by Nick Miller and Lawson.
Marquette didn’t go away. The Redmen tied it 3-3 with two runs scoring on an Eskymos’ throwing error and another from an infield single by Brady Wright. Marquette then took the lead in the fourth on a RBI triple by Blake Henriksen.
However, Esky’s offense caught fire again in the fifth. The Eskymos scored twice on passed balls and a third on a fielder’s choice. Up 6-4 now, Lawson smacked an RBI single and Esky went into the bottom of the frame with a three-run cushion.
The Redmen got one run back in their half of the fifth on some smart baserunning by Peterson. After hitting a single, Peterson moved up to second on a wild pitch. As the Esky catcher chased after it, Peterson saw an opening and kept on running to third. Seeing Peterson making a break for third, the Eskymos catcher threw it down to third, but overthrew the third baseman and Peterson scored on the overthrow.
Wright followed it up with a base hit and Jake Allard-Soucey reached base on an infield single, but the Redmen couldn’t add any more runs in the the inning. They also went down quickly in the sixth as Esky completed the sweep.
“We hit the ball really well and I thought we were able to pull away,” Hanson said. “We had a two-run error on a routine play that I thought allowed them to get back in the game. I thought we were giving them every chance. We had the chance to come back in the first game and I thought we were doing that to them in the second. We left the door open for them multiple times and we were fortunate.”
LaMarche got the win for the Eskymos as he gave up five runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts in five innings. Johnson got the loss in relief for the Redmen as he gave up three runs on three hits with three walks in 1 2/3 innings.
“Again, we had two errors in that second game, but the big thing is that we had five walks,” Larson said. “We can’t walk that many guys and expect to win ball games.”
Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.