Little League Minor girls: Kamin throws heat as Esky stifles Gladstone

ESCANABA – It was a dominating performance by Nicole Kamin Tuesday night as she led the Escanaba Minor Girls’ (age 9-10) Little League All-Stars to the district 10 title with a 7-3 softball victory over Gladstone.

Kamin, who began pitching a year ago, fired a one-hitter, struck out 16, walked three and hit a batter.

“Nicole is a real trooper,” said Esky manager Mark Cloutier. “She got a little tired in the end, but she pulled through.”

The victory sends Esky to the Minor League State Tournament in Escanaba beginning Friday, July 26. Gladstone can also advance to the state tournament with a victory over Kingsford tonight at 7 p.m. at Lemerand Park.

Gladstone’s lone hit came on Olivia Saari’s leadoff single to right-centerfield in the fifth inning.

“That was an outstanding hit by Olivia,” said Gladstone manager Tom Salo. “She really gave us a spark. I’m real proud of the resiliency we showed in the late innings.”

Gladstone, which trailed 6-0 after four innings, then scored twice in the fifth by taking advantage of an error, a walk and a hit batter.

Maddy Block gave Esky a 7-2 advantage on a throwing error in the sixth.

Jacinda Lippens then finished Gladstone’s scoring on a throwing miscue in its half of the inning.

Block, who had two of Esky’s three hits off a trio of pitchers, opened the scoring on an error in the first.

Esky then took advantage of another miscue in the second inning as Sage Clark raised the score to 2-0.

The winners added three runs in the third, taking advantage of an error and six walks, including five straight with two out.

It became 6-0 in the fourth when Kamin scored on a wild pitch.

Esky recorded nine stolen bases, including four in the third.

“We’ve been working a lot on baserunning,” said Cloutier. “We want to make the other teams throw the ball and make mistakes. We knew this would be a good game. Tom does a real good job with his teams and they have some good ballplayers. We never felt comfortable at any time, even when it was 6-0.”

Madison Ahlgren, who pitched the first two innings, took the loss. She struck out five, hit a batter and allowed two runs on one hit.

Both teams committed three errors.

“We threw the ball around too much,” said Salo. “Any time you throw the ball into the outfield, it creates problems. We also have to give Escanaba a lot of credit. All three of their coaches do a great job. They have outstanding people in their Little League organization from top to bottom.”