'IT MEANS EVERYTHING': Redmen Stun Eskymos
Click the thumbnails to see photos and hear post-game comments from Marquette's Isaac Sarles and Jake Toyras.
MARQUETTE---The Marquette High School baseball team took advantage of five Escanaba errors and Isaac Sarles pitched 6 2/3 innings as the Redmen took down the Eskymos, 5-3, Wednesday night, at Marquette's Haley Field.
It was Marquette's second big Great Northern Conference win in the past few days, after also beating the Gladstone Braves, 6-5, last Wednesday, in Gladstone. Sarles also pitched the Redmen to victory in that one, going all seven innings.
This time, he came up one out short of a complete game before reaching his 105-pitch limit, but was still excited after beating the Eskymos.
"It means everything," Sarles said. "This is what we've been working for. Varsity, I mean, they've never done this before. We're blazing a path, and we're showing that we deserve to be here. Guys are stepping up and doing what they need to do, and that's why we got the win today."
"I'm really proud of our team," said center fielder Jake Toyras, who made two outstanding catches to rob the Eskymos of base hits. "We're doing really good right now. Everyone is just putting in their part, and it's just really good to see."
Marquette had defensive problems of its own in the first inning, committing two errors leading to an Eskymo run on a sacrifice fly by Trent Lawson. The Eskymos had the bases loaded in the second inning on a walk, hit batter, and base hit by Nick Chiu, but Sarles pitched out of it, getting the called third strike on Escanaba's Chase Cloutier.
In the third inning, Eskymo pitcher Lenny Peacock allowed base hits to Gibson Jezewski and Luke Mead, and he walked three batters.
It looked like Cloutier would cut down one of those runners with a perfect throw to second base on a stolen base attempt, but the throw was dropped. In fact, Cloutier had three stolen base throws to second, but two of the three were dropped.
A bases loaded walk and a wild pitch allowed two Marquette runs to score, although the Eskymos did cut down another runner at the plate who was also trying to score.
Escanaba took a 3-2 lead in the third inning when Eli Gardner led off with a perfect bunt single, and Lawson lofted a base hit to right field. With two out, Matt Kaven smacked a shot just past the left fielder (Jezewski), and two runs came in on the double.
Marquette grabbed the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning when Logan Peterson led off with a bunt single, stole second, and scored on a ground ball that went right through the legs of shortstop Ben Johnson into the outfield. A wild pitch moved Toyras to third base, and he scored on a ground ball by Easton Miller, giving Marquette a 4-3 lead.
Another error gave Marquette an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning. A.J. Martin got a two-out single, then pinch hitter Peyton Davis smacked a base hit to right field. Lawson misplayed the ball, and it went all the way to the fence, bringing Martin home.
In the seventh inning, Lawson got a two-out single to keep the Eskymos alive, and Sarles ran out of pitches. Peterson came on to throw, and walked Bon LaChance to put two men on base. But with the tying run on, Johnson grounded out to third base to end th game.
Marquette made more plays than Escanaba did, especially Toyras, who ran a long way from center field toward the infield to bring in a pop fly by Johnson in the fifth inning, and then he robbed Trent Turchin of a base hit with a diving catch in the sixth inning.
"It's just simple catching balls in the outfield," Toyras said. "I've been doing it forever, you know? I've always been fast, and it's just simple to catch."
Peacock had control troubles, walking five batters and throwing two wild pitches, but overall, the freshman deserved better, with the poor defense behind him leading to three of Marquette's five runs being unearned runs. Peacock struck out eight batters.
Sarles got the win, his second over a Delta County team on consecutive Wednesdays. He allowed six hits and four walks to the Eskymos, but struck out four (all looking with that outside-corner pitch) and made big pitches with men on base.
"I knew I just had to throw strikes," Sarles said. "That's all I can do. I mean, I was throwing curves, and just keeping them off-balance. I knew that would work today."
It did. And now Marquette remains in first place in the Great Northern Conference, and has a 7-6 overall record. Escanaba is 10-5, and is licking its self-inflicted wounds after a second straight conference loss (lost to Gladstone last Friday night).
Escanaba has more GNC play on Thursday, with a home game against the winless Menominee Maroons, followed by short trips to Manistique on Friday and Gladstone on Saturday.