Eskymos unleash 20-hit barrage

ESCANABA – The Escanaba girls didn’t quite know what to expect when they hosted the Kingsford Flivvers’ new softball program, Tuesday at Lemerand Field. On top of that, the Eskymos started Sam Connor on the mound in her first varsity start in the nightcap of the doubleheader.

Head coach John LaMarch couldn’t have been happier with the result as Esky rolled to an 11-7, 17-2 sweep.

“I’m really happy for the kids,” said LaMarch. “The confidence thing is contagious. When one girl gets a hit, the next girl thinks ‘I can do that’ and it just keeps building.”

A couple monster innings in the nightcap was all the Eskymos needed to turn it into a rout as they piled up 20 hits.

After going scoreless in the first, Esky put five consecutive girls on base in the second, and put up six runs. They added seven more in the third and three in fourth.

Connor then closed the game in the fifth, allowing one baserunner in the inning. She had good control throughout, walking one and allowing four hits with two strikeouts.

At the plate Connor helped her cause with three hits, including two doubles and three RBIs.

“Sam Connor did a marvelous job and that’s her first game pitching this year,” said LaMarch. “She’s been working hard and hasn’t been complaining about working on pitching. I was really happy with the outcome she had – great on the mound, great at bat, just an awesome game.

“If we were handing out $100 bills, she’d be getting one, just a money player for us today.”

Junior Michelle LaFave had a monster 4-hit performance, including a two-run homer and a double, and four RBIs. Seniors Jenn Koish and Ashley Cook each had three hits – Koish with two doubles and a triple and three RBIs.

Senior Syd Gafner had two hits and an RBI.

Janae Walters reached base twice for the Flivvers, once on an error and had an RBI single in the third. She stretched it to a double and an additional run scored on another error.

Also reaching base twice for Kingsford was Emily Murdock and Lauren Caron who each had a single and a fielders choice.

“I’m comfortable with my team. They’re good solid athletes,” said Flivvers’ coach Kevin Murdock. “They have that learning curve yet, but the softball IQ is coming around. Once we get there, we’ll be fine.”

Mariah Clement absorbed the loss and was relieved to start the fourth inning.

In the opener, the Eskymos carried an 11-2 lead into the seventh, but the Flivvers didn’t fold, tagging Esky for five runs in the inning, some coming off miscues.

Maria Wiltzius’ bases loaded double cleared the bases and scored three runs. Brandy Winkler then ripped an RBI single and another run scored on a fielders choice.

Frappier didn’t let it get to her and closed off the inning getting her last batter to fly out right to her. She allowed nine hits, three earned runs and four walks while striking out six.

The Kingsford rally concerned LaMarch after he watched Alpena do something similar in a game earlier this season.

“You do worry about it,” he said. “It’s a momentum thing – It’s hard to get it, easy to lose it, and we were losing it. Lucky for us, Jaymie is very well versed at going through that and she held it together for us. I have to tip my cap to Jaymie.”

LaFave had three hits and Frappier, Becca Piron and Mackenzie Leisner each had two hits.

The Eskymos (8-7) will play a single game at Cheboygan, Friday.