Kleiman works night shift, tosses one-hitter for Esky Cubs

ESCANABA – Apparently, Escanaba Cubs pitcher Ben Kleiman has no problem with working the night shift.

The game didn’t start until nearly 9 p.m. Monday night, but Kleiman came out under the bright lights to throw a one-hitter and lead his team to a 10-0 mercy-rule victory over the Menominee Red Wave in five innings.

His team also aided the cause with plenty of run support, racking up 10 runs on eight hits.

“Ben’s been pretty steady for us all season long,” said Cubs coach Tom Ohman. “We finally gave him some defensive support. He’s just a very experienced pitcher and does what he’s supposed to. He paints corners and does a good job. He was in a rhythm.”

Kleiman gave up just one hit to Jaden Kleinke and finished with four strikeouts and two walks.

Escanaba led 6-0 heading into the fifth when Dave Falish got the ball rolling with an RBI groundout to score the inning’s first run. Kleiman then knocked in Cody Imhoff with an RBI single, and Nick Vandermissen followed with another RBI single to make it 9-0.

Sean Bissell gave the curtain call with one last RBI single to score Vandermissen and apply the mercy rule.

“We did good in situational hitting,” Ohman said. “We hit the ball on the right sides to move runners and score runs. We did a lot of good things.”

Vandermissen also put up the first hit of the evening for the Cubs in the bottom of the third, rocking a two-RBI double to score Tyler Skufca and Kleiman for a 3-0 lead. He and Bissell led the Cubs with two hits apiece, and Skufca also knocked in two runs with a single in the fourth.

Landen Maccoux took the loss on the mound for Menominee.

“We’re in a funk right now,” said Red Wave coach Tony Hofer. “I told the kids ‘It’s a long season, and you’re going to have your ups and your downs,’ and right now we’re in a down. Somehow, we’ve got to get our way out of it.

“We’ve got a lot of games this week, and hopefully we can get into a groove.”

He added that Menominee had opportunities over the course of the game, they just couldn’t get that timely hit to get runners in from scoring positions.

Ohman added that although Escanaba only improves to 5-11, four out of the five victories have been shutouts.

“It’s a very unique ballclub,” he said. “They are capable.”

The Red Wave (8-10) resume today, hosting a doubleheader against Peshtigo, while the Cubs head to Marquette Thursday.