ESCANABA - The Escanaba Eskymos finished 4-for-4 this weekend, winning both of their softball games in Saturday's Esky Lions Challenge.
Esky, which swept a doubleheader from Cheboygan Friday night, then beat Marshfield, Wis. 11-1 and Rapid River 7-3 on Saturday.
The Eskymos were scheduled to face Neenah in Saturday's final round, but that became a scrimmage to prevent the Red Rockets from exceeding the limit of games allowed by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Paul Gerard photo
Escanaba’s J.J. Laviolette puts a ball in play against Marshfield, Wis. during the Escanaba Lions Softball?Challenge, Saturday at Lemerand Field.
The Eskymos (14-10), fueled by junior Michelle LaFave's three-run homer, grabbed a 4-0 first-inning lead on Rapid River.
Sophomore Callie Heller, who scored on a grounder by LaFave in the opening frame, finished with two hits and J.J. Laviolette had an RBI single in the fourth.
"I think we played pretty good defense and got some timely hits," said Esky manager John LaMarch. "We played real well in both games. We have a busy week coming up. Hopefully, the kids will get some rest and continue to get a little better.
"Rapid River is definitely a team on the uprise. We have great respect for them. They're playing schools bigger than themselves, which gives them a lot of incentive to keep fighting."
Kendyl Miller's solo home run to leftfield got Rapid River (12-15) on the board in the fifth and Hannah Kanyuh's two-run double to center finished the scoring in the sixth.
"Kendyl put a charge into that ball," said Rockets' manager George Kanyuh. "We kept battling, but we were a day late and a dollar short."
Sam Connor, who scatttered four hits, took the win. Savannah Stenlund, who absorbed the loss, struck out 11, walked five and allowed eight hits.
"We made some mistakes and they got four unearned runs," said manager George Kanyuh. "You can't do that against Escanaba. We had too many errors to have a chance to beat them."
Esky's Jaymie Frappier threw a two hitter, fanned four and walked one against Marshfield.
"We didn't know anything about Marshfield, but the kids responded well and put a couple good innings together," said Esky manager John LaMarch. "Jaymie pitched well and we played good defense behind her."
Heller collected four hits and scored three runs. Jenn Koish added three hits and Sydney Gafner and LaFave had two apiece for the Eskymos, who host Peshtigo, WIs. in a twinbill today at 4.
Stenlund tossed a three-hitter, fanned 13 and walked none in Rapid River's 7-1 opening-round conquest of Negaunee.
"Savannah pitched real well," said manager Kanyuh. "She was hitting the spots. Our defense was also very good. Everything we needed to do, we got done."
The Rockets finished with 10 hits, with Miller leading the way with three. Stenlund and Dominique Pavlat had two each.
The Rockets finished with a rough outing against Cheboygan, dropping a 13-1 decision.
Senior Aspen Williams clubbed a leadoff home run to center off Erika Schwartz's second pitch and the Chiefs never looked back.
The Chiefs scored their second run on Aleeza Bergstrom's single to left in the opening frame and Corrie Bongard opened the third inning with home run to center.
Cheboygan added four runs in the fifth, a pair in the sixth and four in the seventh.
The Rockets scored on Stenlund's single to center in the fifth.
"We didn't hit," said manager Kanyuh. "Nobody struck out, but nobody hit well either. We got into this tournament to play some good competition and we did that. Our win-loss record is a little disappointing, but there are some good teams in this tournament. We'll lick our wounds and move on. Hopefully, we're better for the experience."
Rapid River finished with six hits, including two by Hannah Kanyuh.
Cheboygan erupted for 17 hits. Bridget Blaskowski and Bongard led the Chiefs with four each and Williams had three.
Schwartz, who pitched the entire game, whiffed five and walked four.
The Rockets are in Manistique for a twinbill today at 4.