Escanaba stays hot, defeats Tri-County 12-0

ESCANABA – The Escanaba nine and 10-year-old Little League All-Stars picked up Thursday night where they left off last week, blanking Tri-County 12-0 in five innings in an area tournament opener at Dickson Field.

Esky, which captured the Yooper Tournament title last week, scored five times in the first inning of Thursday’s game.

The victory gives Esky today off. It resumes Saturday at 1 p.m. against the winner of tonight’s Munising-Gladstone contest, which starts at 5.

Tri-County then faces Manistique in an elimination game tonight at 7.

Marshall Zelenak ripped a two-run single to rightfield in the first for Esky, which also took advantage of four walks and two errors in the inning.

Esky added two runs each in the second and fourth and three in the fifth.

Nathan Howes had three of Esky’s 13 hits, including doubles in the second and fourth and a two-run single along the rightfield line in the fifth. Adam Willette finished 2-for-2. Casey Bray also had two hits.

“We hit the ball pretty well,” said Esky manager Darren Bray. “We were 3-for-3 from our No. 8 spot, which was huge for us. We also threw strikes and made the plays, which is real important.”

Casey Bray, Nick Rousseau and Jayger LaMarch combined on a one-hitter. Bray, who pitched the first 2 2/3 innings, struck out three and walked one.

“Everything was good for us,” said manager Bray. “We have all our pitchers available for Saturday. That’s a big deal for us, too. Our third-baseman (Hunter Lancour) had a 103 temperature before the game, but still played two innings. He stepped up and played a good game.

“Tri-County has a good team. Their pitchers threw pretty well. We just hit the ball and pitched well.”

Mike Rondeau, who worked the first 2/3 inning, absorbed the loss.

Dakota Maki then pitched the remainder of the contest. He whiffed five, walked two and allowed seven runs on 11 hits.

“The same thing happened to us tonight as in the Yooper tournament,” said Tri-County coach Keith Frusti. “We started slow tonight, although we played a very good team. Hopefully, we’ll show up with the game we’re capable of playing tomorrow night.”

Munising stayed in the winner’s bracket by posting a 16-5 truimph over Manistqiue in four innings in Thursday’s nightcap.

The teams combined for 12 errors, including eight by Manistique in its return to All-Star competition.

“I see some passionate boys on this team who want to play baseball, which is nice to see,” said Manistique manager Jason McEvers. “We’re the first all-star team to come out of Manistique in 10 years. Our boys love playing the out-of-town teams. They’re excited about the opportunity to come over here and interact with other boys their age. The kids were nervous coming in here, but I’m proud of the effort they gave. We appreciate the Escanaba crew helping us through our transition.”

First-baseman Jude Way had two hits for Manistique, which trailed only 6-5 after 2 1/2 frames.

Munising then broke open the contest by scoring seven times in its half of the third.

Bill Crisp and Ashton Wymer had two hits apiece for Munising, which finished with seven. Manistique had four.

Munising, managed by Superior Central graduate Terry Keinitz, used three pitchers.

Carson Sprader worked 2 2/3 innings and took the loss.