Legion Blues fall to Esky


Sports Editor

KINGSFORD – Escanaba has played about twice as many American Legion baseball games as Kingsford this spring, and it showed Tuesday at Lodal Park.

The Eskymos (9-8) produced 15 runs on 12 hits to shut out the Blues in five innings.

“We hit the ball well,” Escanaba manager Kirk Schwalbach said. “They struggled a little bit finding the plate early on. We got some guys on, got some hits with runners in scoring position. That’s something we’ve been getting better at.”

The game was scoreless through one, but Escanaba sent 12 batters to the plate in the second and another 11 took a crack in the third, leading to 13 runs.

In the second, back to back walks, a hit batsman and another walk to start the inning sent the Eskymos on their way. Cory McInerney and Sean Bissell later cracked RBI singles to left, and Devin Olsen put an exclamation point on the inning with a two-out, two-run single to left.

The Eskymos did all their third inning damage with two outs. Bissell had the inning’s big blow with a deep two-run double over the head of Kingsford’s center fielder. Ben Kleiman and Olsen singled in additional runs, and Tyler Skufca doubled in another marker.

Three Escanaba pitchers combined to keep Kingsford without a hit until Cole Michaud poked a sharp single to left in the final inning. Michaud later wheeled to second on a steal but was stranded.

Brandon Punzel got the start and worked through two innings. McInerney took the hill for the middle two frames, and Justin Popelka got the final three outs, allowing just the one hit. The trio struck out seven while walking three.

“Brandon has been getting better every time,” Schwalbach said. “He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities. Cory and Justin haven’t pitched yet this season. They threw strikes, we’re right around the plate, and induced ground balls. That’s all you can ask.”

Kingsford heads to Channing tonight.

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