Wishigan baseball: Polecats split with Crivitz

ESCANABA – It was a major reversal of fortune for the Escanaba Polecats in the second game of a Wishigan League baseball doubleheader Sunday as they dropped an 11-3 decision to Crivitz, Wis.

The Polecats rallied to win the opener 3-2 at Al Ness Field.

“We played real well in the opener,” said Esky coach Kyle Berres. “Then, we came out a little flat in the second game. Give the Crivitz guys credit. They didn’t hang their heads after the first game.”

Crivitz led 2-1 after 5 1/2 innings of Game 1.

The Polecats (4-3), however, tied the contest on Robert Ganzel’s single in the sixth. Brandon Gagnon then scored the game-winner on a throwing error.

Crivitz (1-3), taking advantage of two walks, scored its first run in the third frame.

Jared Stenson pulled Esky even on a fielder’s choice in the fifth before the Wolves regained the lead in their half of the sixth.

Alex DeHaan, who pitched the entire game, took the win. He struck out seven, walked six, hit a batter and allowed six hits.

“Alex got in and out of trouble, but pitched real well overall,” said Berres. “We also played pretty clean on defense behind him.”

Tony Peacock and Trent Schwalbach led the Polecats with two hits each. Scott Evosovich and Jordan Hardy had two apiece for Crivitz.

The Wolves scored three times in the opening frame of the nightcap. Manager/catcher Jake Johnston drove in their first run on a single to leftfield. First-baseman Bo Heinememyer made it 2-0 on A.J. Garcia’s ground out to second and Johnston raised the count to 3-0 on a passed ball.

“We played with more confidence in the second game and the first inning definitely set the tone,” said Johnston. “Anytime you score three runs with nobody out, it makes everything easier on your pitcher.”

The Polecats got on the board in their half of the first on Gagnon’s sacrifice fly to left.

Crivitz, taking advantage of two errors, a walk and a passed ball, regained its three-run cushion in the second.

The Wolves then added two runs in the fourth on Heinemeyer’s single to center and Johnston’s single to right for a 6-1 advantage.

Crivitz made it 11-1 in the sixth, scoring five times on a walk, two hit batsmen, an error, Garcia’s single to left and Johnston’s two-run single to center.

Esky got its second run in the bottom of the sixth when Peacock scored from second on a passed ball. Justyn Doucette ended the scoring on a fielder’s choice moments later.

Crivitz collected 10 hits off three Esky pitchers. Johnston and Heinemeyer led the way to two apiece.

Peacock managed a pair off Garcia, who scattered four hits, fanned four, walked two and hit a batter.

“A.J’s curveball was working real well today,” said Johnston. “Overall, this was by far our best outing all year. This means a lot to our team. We start kind of rocky (in the opener), but this really boosts our morale.”

Matt Jensen, who worked the first four frames, absorbed the loss. He whiffed five, walked three and gave up six runs on seven hits.

The Polecats committed four errors in the contest.

“Matt struggled a little and the errors definitely didn’t help,” said Berres. “We have some things we need to clean up before next weekend. Although, Tony (Peacock) hit the ball real well today.”

Ganzel limped off the field with what appeared to be a hamstring injury in the opening frame of Game 2. Ganzel, however, told Berres it was a cramp. The extent of the injury is unknown.

The Polecats visit Gillett, Wis. for a twinbill on Sunday. Crivitz heads to Marinette Wednesday.