ESCANABA - In the days leading up to their MHSAA Division 2 regional semifinal matchup against Newaygo on Saturday, the Escanaba baseball team knows little about its opponent.
For Escanaba head coach Kirk Schwalbach, that's perfectly fine with him.
"I kind of worry about we do, more," Schwalbach said. "Baseball doesn't change. It's not like the other sports like basketball where you have matchup issues. We've seen a lot of good pitching this year, and I think it's prepared us.
Bryce Derouin | Daily Press
Escanaba’s Ben Kleiman leaps to make the snag at second base, while Gladstone’s Christian Tackman makes his way toward second in a scrimmage between the two schools, Wednesday at Al Ness Field in Escanaba.
"I haven't seen a lot about them; I haven't heard a lot. I heard they run a lot and like to bunt, and it's like, well we like to run a lot and bunt a lot. I don't want to overanalyze them. I kind of want to worry about what we're doing."
Escanaba (16-9) is still riding its emotional high after rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the seventh inning against Petoskey, to win 5-3 and capture the district title, last Saturday. If the Eskymos find themselves in a similar situation again, this weekend, they'll at least have the experience of manufacturing a late rally, under its belt.
"I think it helps our confidence a ton," Schwalbach said about his team's comeback. "It lets us know that there are 21 outs in the game, and if we're down to our last three, we can still do it because we've done it."
Newaygo (23-5-1) had to put together a comeback of its own, as they rallied from being down 6-5, to defeat Howard City Tri County, 12-6, last Saturday. Newaygo scored seven unanswered runs over the last three innings. The title marked the third district championship since 2008, for Newaygo.
The winner between Escanaba and Newaygo, will face the victor between the other regional semifinal matchup, which features Gladwin and Whitehall.
"We feel good about our chances," Schwalbach said. "There were a few kids who were struggling with the bats, and got their bats going this past weekend and we're going to need them to step up, and if they do, I think we're going to be right there."
We're excited. It's an opportunity, and you know, baseball is a funny game. One game, anything can happen. We're certainly going to go in with confidence."