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Monday April 23, 2018
District Champs! Eskymos Finally Put It Together

SAULT STE. MARIE---You just had to know that at some point, the Escanaba High School baseball team would put it all together and play a complete game in a pressure situation. After all, the team had lost eight games by one run this season, and had lost 13 baseball games in all, the most in modern school history.

Eskymo seniors Ian DeMarse, Alex DeHaan, and Austin Young with the district trophy.
But still, along the way this season, you saw flashes of the good ball that this collection of mostly underclassmen could play.

And on Monday, they finally accomplished what supporters have been waiting to see all season long. And what a time to do it!

Escanaba rallied from four runs down to beat the Cheboygan Chiefs, 9-7, and then upset the Petoskey Northmen, 9-2, to win the Division Two District Championship at Sault Ste. Marie's James Field. The games were played, at times, under bright sunny skies, and at other times, under dark clouds and heavy rainfall.

But when the boys got the final out against the Northmen....a fly ball to right fielder Jeff really didn't matter if it was sunny, or stormy. The trophy was coming home!

"I'm just so proud of them," Eskymo Head Coach Kirk Schwalbach said. "They deserve it. We've been talking about all year how we can't put it all together. But I told them (before tha game) that we had to go out and not worry about the other team. If we don't beat ourselves, we can play with anybody."

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Austin Young Post-Game Interview.
"We figured that one day, it was all gonna click," Eskymo senior Austin Young said. "Some days, we'd have good bats, some days we'd have good defense. But we figured that some day, it would all click, and it clicked today."

"I'm just speechless right now," Eskymo senior Ian DeMarse said. "I mean, I'm so happy with how we played. And, we're district champs!"

And it didn't look good early on in the semifinal game against Cheboygan.

The Chiefs jumped on senior pitcher Alex DeHaan for four runs in the top of the first inning, as DeHaan walked two batters, hit another, and gave up a two-run gap-shot to junior pitcher Damon Proctor.

Proctor, who silenced the Eskymos in a 6-1 district tournament loss last season, had helped to give himself a 4-0 lead with that hit that would end DeHaan's pitching day.

Devin Olsen pitches in a rainstorm.
But the hard-throwing right-hander was just coming back from a severe knee injury, and he had problems as he went to the mound in the bottom of the first inning.

DeHaan had a two-run single, Bailey Lamb added a run-scoring double, and David Falish put down a perfect bunt that not only got him on base, but scored a run when Proctor threw the ball away.

And Cam Beversluis was later safe on an error that allowed Falish to score the go-ahead run, giving Escanaba a 5-4 lead after one inning.

Schwalbach had to make a pitching decision, and concluded that DeHaan just didn't have it.

So, he turned to sophomore Devin Olsen, and the move worked, as Olsen held the Chiefs off the scoreboard for the next three innings.

"I just found my curveball, sometimes, and my then my fastball was pretty good today," Olsen said. "I didn't throw any change-ups today."

Escanaba built a 7-4 lead in the fourth inning on RBI hits from Ben Kleiman and DeHaan. The Chiefs closed to within 7-5 in the fifth when Anthony Juillet doubled and scored on a hit byEryn Eustice. But Olsen got the next three outs to keep it 7-5.

First baseman Ian DeMarse gets the out on Cheboygan's Damon Proctor.
The Eskymos played some "small ball" in the sixth inning, scoring a pair of runs on bunts that were not handled correctly by Proctor and his teammates.

Those runs came in handy because  Cheboygan got a two-run hit from Stan Swiderek in the sixth inning that cut the Escanaba lead to 9-7.

And in the seventh inning, Jordan Yost and Zach Schley each got two-out base hits to give Cheboygan one last scoring chance. But Olsen got Proctor to ground out to end the game.

Escanaba got nine hits in that game, with DeHaan and Kleiman each getting three.

Olsen got the pitching win, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings of work.

So, after a break for a bite to eat and some field maintenance, the Eskymos went for a district championship against Petoskey.

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Nick Vandermissen Triple vs Petoskey
The Northmen had beaten the Eskymos in a regular season game in Escanaba last month, and just like in that earlier game, the Eskymos got the upper hand early on.

Austin Young led off with a double and scored on a triple by Nick Vandermissen in the top of the first inning. Then in the bottom of the inning, Petoskey threatened with runners at the corners and one out against starting pitcher Ben Kleiman.

Eskymos Turn Double Play vs Petoskey
But the Eskymos turned a nice 6-4-3 double play to end that Petoskey threat.

Escanaba made its move in the top of the third inning, scoring five runs to break the game open. Vandermissen had a sacrafice fly to score one run, then Lamb ripped a two-run single to make it 4-0.

Later in the inning, Tyler Skufca lifted one into the right field corner for a two-run double. That gave Escanaba a 6-0 lead.

It was 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when the Northmen made their move. Kleiman gave up two walks and two base hits. Petoskey had a run on the board, and the bases were loaded with no outs. Young came in to pitch, and he stepped up. He got Nick Strobel to pop up and Dan Clancy hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Threat over.

Austn Young on the mound vs Petoskey
Escanaba still had a 7-1 lead, and Young made it stand up over the final few innings, allowing a meaningless run in the Northman seventh inning. And after so many ups and downs throughout this baseball season, the Eskymos had their district title.

Escanaba had 11 hits in the game, giving the team 20 for the two wins.

The Eskymos had three players selected to the All-District Team: Young, DeHaan, and Vandermissen. And Schwalbach was chosen as the District Coach of the Year in his debut season.

Escanaba (21-13) advances to the regional tournament next Saturday in West Branch.

Details on that regional tournament will become known later on Tuesday.

Click the thumbnails in the "ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS" box on the top of this page to see pictures, watch video highlights, and to listen to audio highlights and interviews from this district tournament.

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Choose team:
Date Time Opponent Score Record
5:30 PM
Marquette Redmen
12 - 2 (W)
5:00 PM
at Norway Knights
13 - 0 (W)
4:00 PM
Rudyard Bulldogs
9 - 0 (W)
6:30 PM
Rudyard Bulldogs
9 - 4 (W)
12:30 PM
Shawano Hawks
1 - 7 (L)
3:00 PM
Shawano Hawks
0 - 1 (L)
5:30 PM
Norway Knights
17 - 0 (W)
6:00 PM
Kingsford Legion Blues
14 - 7 (W)
1:00 PM
at Appleton North Lightning
3 - 7 (L)
3:30 PM
at Appleton North Lightning
1 - 12 (L)
6:00 PM
Stephenson Eagles
14 - 4 (W)
5:00 PM
Negaunee Miners
6 - 5 (W)
12:00 PM
at Saginaw Heritage Hawks
7 - 3 (W)
2:30 PM
at Mt. Pleasant Oilers
2 - 5 (L)
6:00 PM
at Stephenson Eagles
12 - 2 (W)
5:30 PM
at DePere Redbirds
5 - 6 (L)
12:30 PM
Negaunee Miners
3 - 2 (W)
5:00 PM
Marquette Redmen
7 - 1 (W)
7:30 PM
at Gladstone Indians
4 - 5 (L)
5:30 PM
at Marquette Redmen
14 - 3 (W)
12:00 PM
Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils
11 - 3 (W)
2:20 PM
Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils
10 - 0 (W)
5:00 PM
at Marinette Marines
3 - 13 (L)
6:00 PM
at Kingsford Legion Blues
7 - 8 (L)
7:00 PM
Alpena Wildcats
8 - 2 (W)
12:30 PM
Petoskey Northmen
2 - 4 (L)
5:00 PM
Negaunee Miners
6 - 3 (W)
5:00 PM
at Negaunee Miners
15 - 8 (W)
10:00 AM
at Shepherd
5 - 6 (L)
12:00 PM
at Alpena Wildcats
9 - 0 (W)
2:30 PM
at Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils
5 - 6 (L)
6:00 PM
Gladstone Indians
3 - 4 (L)
2:30 PM
at Cheboygan Chiefs
9 - 7 (W)
6:00 PM
at Petoskey Northmen
9 - 2 (W)
12:30 PM
at Remus Chippewa Hills
1 - 8 (L)

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Saturday July 7, 2012
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Monday June 25, 2012
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Tuesday June 19, 2012
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Sunday June 10, 2012
Eskymo Baseball Prepares For Regional Challenge
Friday June 8, 2012
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Saturday June 2, 2012
Weyers Complete Game Leads Tribe Past Eskymos
Thursday May 31, 2012
Eskymos Drop Two Of Three In Sault Ste. Marie
Sunday May 27, 2012
Eskymos Top Miners Under Gale Force Winds, 15-8
Thursday May 24, 2012
Eskymos Rally To Salvage Third Place In Tourney
Saturday May 19, 2012
Falish, Skufca Lead Eskymos To Victory
Friday May 18, 2012
Errors Costly Again As Eskymos Blow Late Lead
Thursday May 17, 2012
Mercy Killing: Eskymos Finish Zero-For-Wisconsin
Tuesday May 15, 2012
Eskymos Sweep Mistake-Prone Sault Blue Devils
Saturday May 12, 2012
Eskymos Overcome Mistakes; Win In Marquette
Thursday May 10, 2012
Indians Hang On To Beat Eskymos In Rivalry Battle
Wednesday May 9, 2012
DeHaan, Kleiman Lead Eskymos To Tourney Sweep
Sunday May 6, 2012
Eskymos Start Fast But Fall Again In Wisconsin 6-5
Friday May 4, 2012
Olsen Leads Eskymos To 12-2 Win At Stephenson
Wednesday May 2, 2012
Eskymos Beat Saginaw; Nearly Topple Mt. Pleasant
Sunday April 29, 2012
Eskymo Baseball Prepares For Saginaw Showcase
Friday April 27, 2012
Eskymos Rally For Walk-Off Win Over Negaunee
Thursday April 26, 2012
Eskymos Top Stephenson In Sloppy Baseball Match
Tuesday April 24, 2012
Eskymos Struck By Lightning Twice In Appleton
Saturday April 21, 2012
Eskymos Rally To Beat Kingsford In Cold Rain
Friday April 20, 2012
Eskymos Shivver, Roll Past Norway Again, 17-0
Tuesday April 17, 2012
Eskymos Suffer Power Outage In Loss To Shawano
Saturday April 14, 2012
Delta County Boy Scouts Help Eskymos With Flag
Saturday April 14, 2012
Eskymos Sweep Rudyard To Start Big Homestand
Friday April 13, 2012
Escanaba Eskymos Rip Norway To Go To 2-0
Wednesday April 11, 2012
Eskymos Open Season With Win Over Marquette
Tuesday April 10, 2012
Young Eskymos Ready For 2012 Baseball Season
Sunday April 8, 2012
Schwalbach Hired As New Eskymo Baseball Coach
Saturday March 17, 2012
Eskymo Baseball, Softball Teams Start Practice
Friday March 16, 2012