Esky boys continue streak

ESCANABA – The Escanaba Eskymos ran their winning streak to five games Friday night as they swept to 7-2 and 6-2 baseball victories over the Alpena Wildcats.

Tyler Skufca fired a one-hitter in the opener, striking out three and walking three.

“Tyler pitched well,” said Esky manager Kirk Schwalbach. “His curveball worked well and he got ahead of a lot of hitters. He stayed around the plate and pretty much had control of the game.”

Alpena scored both of its runs in the third inning.

The Eskymos (11-8) responded with four runs in its half of the third.

“We made an error and gave them an extra out in the third,” said Schwalbach. “Then, we took advantage of some walks and had two of our three hits in our half of the third.

Esky drew eight walks, with five leading to runs in the opener.

The teams agreed to play six-inning games due to the cold weather.

In the nightcap, Brandon Punzel worked five innings and took the win. He fanned eight, walked five and allowed three hits. Devin Olsen relieved in the sixth.

“Devin also had a nice curveball tonight,” said Schwalbach. “He’s getting better each time. Only, we’re trying to find ways for him to get ahead of hitters.

The Eskymos, fueled by Skufca’s two-run double, scored four times in the fifth.

“That was a big hit for us,” said Schwalbach. “We’re putting the bat on the ball and finding different ways to score.

“We’ve battled Alpena a lot over the years. We always have good games with them.”

Each team finished with four hits.

Esky, which is hosting the Bink’s Coca-Cola tournament today, opens against Houghton at 12:30. Negaunee and Alpena were scheduled to play at 10 this morning.

The consolation game is set for 3, followed by the championship contest at 5:30.