Esky preps for rematch with Remus Chippewa Hills

ESCANABA – For the second straight year, the Escanaba (20-12) and Remus Chippewa Hills (25-7) softball teams will meet in the regionals, on Saturday. And for the second straight year, Escanaba will hope for a similar outcome as last year’s matchup.

Last season, Escanaba scored its winning run in the seventh inning to secure the 5-4 victory and claim the regional title, but according to Escanaba head coach John LaMarch, he doesn’t put much stock from last year’s regional final, into this year’s regional semifinal.

“The only thing I take from that, is a little bit of tendency of where a kids hit consistency and even that doesn’t tell you a whole lot,” LaMarch said about the 2013 game. “I have all my notes from last year when Jaymie (Frappier) pitched against them, but you can only look at it from a wide perspective.”

Given Frappier’s experience in facing Remus Chippewa Hills, LaMarch is leaning towards giving her the ball to start on the mound for the Eskymos. But Sam Connor’s recent success, has deterred LaMarch from naming a starter, yet.

“I guess I’m kind of waiting to the last minute,” LaMarch said about naming a starter. “It’s kind of weird that a coach would wait that long. I’ve never done that in the past, but Sam’s been pitching so well. They’re totally different. Sam’s slower and can throw the team off hitting wise. I guess at the eleventh hour, I’ll decide.”

If Frappier is given the start, the junior isn’t going to attempt to overthink things on the mound. Instead, she plans on just keeping it simple.

“I don’t really remember a lot,” Frappier said about facing Remus Chippewa Hills, last year. “It was just a close game and we pulled through it.

“I’m just going to have to stay focused and pitch my game and not let anything get to me.”

For Remus Chippewa HIlls, they’re not investing too much in last year’s meeting, either. Despite being on the losing end of a closely contested game.

“It’s just another game. They’re all important at this point,” Remus Chippewa Hills head coach R.D. Denslow said. “We worry about how we play, more than how our opponent plays. We practice a certain way and want to do things a certain way, and I guess that’s our main focus.”

Remus Chippewa Hills is fresh off of a dominant showing in its district. The Warriors defeated Grant 15-4, to capture the district title and Remus Chippewa Hills managed to outscore its opponents 44-5 over the span of three district games.

Escanaba was just as impressive in its own district, as they overwhelmed Kingsford in the semifinal, 7-1, and took care of Cheboygan in the district title game, 7-2.

“We’re playing really good,” LaMarch said about his team. “We had a couple of kids that were struggling a little bit earlier, and they’re starting to get hot, so that’s a good sign. And we got some people that have played well all season.”

Escanaba and Remus Chippewa Hills are set to start at noon on Saturday. The winner will face the victor of the other regional semifinal game, which is between Ogemaw Heights and Whitehall. The regional title game is set to start at 2 p.m.

“I think if we play some clean defense, I think we’ll do it,” LaMarch said. “Our pitching is solid, our hitting is solid. I think if we play some clean defense, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”