GLADSTONE – A warm and sunny Friday afternoon brought a double sweep for the Escanaba Eskymos as they beat Gladstone Braves, 6-1, 6-2, in Gladstone.
The opening match was marked by a tight fight until the final half as the Eskimos scored four runs to break away late and secure the win.
Game Two featured a similar pattern as Eskymos led two entering sixth place but opened things up when Bon LaChance fired one of them over the left field fence for a three-round shot.
While Cam Kelly scored for the Braves in the final inning, Gladstone couldn’t make it back again.
“Proud of our children,” Escanaba coach Scott Hanson said. “I treated today as an area because, obviously, Gladstone is a high-quality team. The scores don’t indicate how close these are.
Hunter Lancourt (six hits, five walks, and four hits allowed for one round) took the hilltop win in Game One, with Game Two winner and Novice Jared Hanson closing in on the final.
Jared Hanson fought a one-two on four courts in his closing attempt while on the cusp of another player’s 2022 Cup of the Night before Tyler Darmogray and Gavin Frossard hits. In the fifth and sixth halves. He finished his second game effort with 11 hits, five walks, and two hits hits, one earned.
Scott Heller closed in on the Eskymos and took the final with Aeden Creten on the board after giving up Gladstone’s only other kick, a fine drop into shallow right field by Austin Bagwell.
“We couldn’t have had a better view,” Coach Hanson said. “Hunter was amazing, the defense behind him was amazing. I thought Jared was amazing, the defense behind him was amazing.”
Braden Sundquist took on most of the throwing duties in the first game, going five for five hits, two walks, and seven for two winning rounds. Cam Kelly came in sixth and allowed four wins in three strokes with three walks.
Brennan Detig closed things down in the opening game for the Braves and then, like his Eskimos counterpart Jared Hanson, started Game Two where he went for five innings, crossed out three, walked four, and ceded two earned runs, three in total, in three strokes.
Tyler Darmogray finished the match in sixth place with one stroke and three straight strokes.
“We hung out with them for a while,” Braves coach Joe Darmogray said. “Obviously, we’ve probably seen two of the best bowlers we’ll be seeing all year until we get down. So, hats off to that. They hit the ball really well, but we didn’t. I can’t knock Escanaba for that.”
Detig and Sundquist, who watched most of the time with Gladstone, were bright spots for the Braves in both matches.
“Brennan’s show is great for us,” Coach Darmogray said. “This is his longest throwing stint, and like I said the day before, that’s great for him. He’s a strong arm that we’ll need on the road… and Braden made a great pitching in the first game.”
After going 10-1 to open the season, coach Darmogray is confident his kids can come up with two losses to Esky.
“The kids played great and today was a day off,” He said. “We told them to forget today, the day is over. We will start from scratch again tomorrow.”
After the match, Escanaba’s Jared Hanson and Gladstone’s Cam Kelly – who have played baseball together for over a decade – shared a special moment when they recalled their time on the Diamonds together and posed for photos with the sunset as the backdrop.
The couple commented on the rivalry between the school and, more importantly, the bond and friendship that the communities shared.
“Obviously it’s a huge rivalry,” Kelly said. “But, I’m very close to a group of these guys. Like Jared, he’s been my teammate for 10+ years.
Schools are only 15 minutes away so we all know each other.
“Yes, everyone takes it very seriously, but at the end of the day we are all mates and play against each other, which is just fun. Especially on a day like today where it’s 60 degrees and sunny. It couldn’t get much better.”
Despite the close contact between Jared and Kelly as a pitcher of Jared approached Kelly’s helmet, the two were all smiling after the match.
“Based on what Cam said, we’re very serious about games and stuff, but I accidentally threw one and we walked in and laughed afterwards and had fun,” Jared Hanson said. “Just having that bond together and knowing what’s going on in the game, we’re still here, and we’re brothers after that.”