Little League softball: Escanaba beats Kingsford, 9-8

Kingsford's Janessa Miskovich, left, tags Escanaba's Mary-Kate Tourangeau before she can reach home during a Minor Girls' All-Star district tournament game on Tuesday in Escanaba. (Justin St. Ours/The Daily Press)

ESCANABA — It was a far cry from the first matchup as the Escanaba Minor All-Star softball team (ages 8-10) escaped elimination in the district tournament with a 9-8 win against Kingsford.

In Sunday’s tournament opener, Esky routed Kingsford 18-8 in four innings.

“(Kingsford) definitely played a different game today,” Escanaba manager Justin Jacobsen said. “They came out ready to go. They really gave us a challenge, and it was anyone’s game until the end. They played really well today. One hit can change a whole game.”

Entering the bottom of the sixth with the game tied at 8, Esky’s Chloe Dubord and Janessa Platt both singled on ground balls to put two on base with one out. Breeleigh Reinhart finished the game with a triple to score Dubord and move Escanaba on to the finals against Norway at 7 p.m. EDT tonight.

The lead changed multiple times throughout the game, with each team one-upping each other to grab a spot in the championship game.

Escanaba took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning on another triple from Reinhart that scored Dubord and Platt, and then herself on a throwing error.

Kingsford responded in the second. A hit batter and two walks loaded the bases and two more walks drove two in. Samantha DeMuri singled on a fielding error to score Janessa Miskovich and Brooklyn Schetter to give Kingsford a 4-3 lead. Miley Vandenheuval then scored on a wild pitch for its last run of the inning.

“It was great to see that we got a lead early,” Kingsford manager Marc Sutton said. “Not the first inning, but coming into the second we got the lead, which really played to their confidence.”

After a run in the bottom of the second, Escanaba tied it at 5 in the bottom of the third when Mary-Kate Tourangeau tripled on a fielding error to score Brooklyn Beauchamp.

“I just told them to not stop trying,” Jacobsen said. “I know they can go when they want to. As long as they keep swinging the bats, good things happen, and they did it. If they struck out, they went down swinging, and that’s all I asked.”

Escanaba took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth with a single from Platt that scored Paige Stammer and Dubord. Platt advanced to third on Kingsford errors and scored on a double from Reinhart, extending Escanaba’s lead to 8-5 going into the fifth.

Kingsford tied it up in the top of the inning with a triple on errors from Vandeheuval that scored Miskovich and Sleik. Vandenheuval scored after on a wild pitch.

“(We kept in it) without question,” Sutton said. “I think our girls came to play tonight. They were aggressive on the baserunning, with the bats and they were just all-around in the game all the time. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls tonight, especially after the way Sunday turned out. To meet the same thing, I think they did a great job. They kept it going into the sixth inning and you couldn’t ask for much more.”

Reinhart earned the win for Escanaba over four innings and Landry Bray pitched two.

Miskovich went the whole way and took the loss for Kingsford.

If Escanaba wins tonight’s game against Norway, the teams will play again at 7 p.m. Thursday, but a Norway win gives it the district championship.

“We played a good game, but we’ve got some things to work on,” Jacobsen said. “It will definitely be a different pace against (Norway’s) pitcher.”