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Escanaba wins U.P. battle

NEGAUNEE – It was an exciting Friday night for the Escanaba 10- and 11-year-old softball team as it notched its second win of the day to open Little League softball state finals, 2-1 over North Central Upper Peninsula in the evening.

“That was an exciting game,” Esky head coach Jamie Segorski said. “We knew coming in that they were going to be a good team, so we’re happy to get out of here with a win.”

On the other side of the diamond, there was disappointment, but also pride despite the loss.

“That was a heartbreaker,” NC head coach Patrick Thomson said. “Escanaba is the program to beat in the U.P. and we battled them hard.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our girls with our hitting right now and our pitching has also been great.

“We came to play in this tournament and I think we did a good job.”

Esky almost got on the board right away in the bottom of the first inning. With two girls on base with one out, Emily Moore hit a ground ball in the infield and baserunner Bailey Barron was caught in a rundown as she attempted to score.

In the top of the second, North Central put forth its first scoring threat. A double by Ellie Miller and back-to-back singles by Jillian Koski and Allie Ennett loaded up the bases. However, Moore picked up two straight strikeouts to end the inning, keeping the game scoreless.

“Emily pitched a great game,” Segorski said. “She did a great job keeping them off balance. She located her fastball well and her changeup was very nice.”

Escanaba scored twice in the bottom of the third. Carsyn Segorski led off with a walk and scored on a long triple by Barron. Erica Moore then hit a single and Emily Moore knocked in another run with a fielder’s choice.

In the top of the fourth, NC cut its deficit to one run. After their first chance in the inning failed due to a baserunning error, Koski hit a single that scored Miller, who had reached base earlier on a double.

“We did a great job hitting tonight,” Thomson said. “Ellie and Natalie (Prophet) really did well at the plate and really, everybody did well. We had a great effort.”

That was it for the scoring for both teams as Moore and NC pitcher Josey Thomson shut down the opposing offenses. North Central had one last chance to tie the game in the top of the sixth as Miller crushed a triple to the fence in center, but she was stranded at third.

In earlier games Friday, North Central came back from an 4-0 deficit to defeat Bay County 8-5.

“The girls showed a ton of heart that game,” Thomson said. “We were down and made a nice comeback. We were disappointed with the outcome of the second game, but overall, it was a good day for us.”

Esky, on the other hand, had an easier time with Tecumseh, cruising past the downstate team 13-0.

“We just hit the ball really well,” Segorski said. “I think everybody had a hit. Carsyn and Emily combined to pitch a no-hitter, so it was a great game all-around.”

Each U.P. team plays one game today. North Central plays Georgetown at 12:30 p.m., while Esky plays Bay County at 8 p.m.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.