Esko’s late-season heroics place them third in Section 7AA
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
ESKO, Minn. – After starting the season slow and losing a handful of games, Esko softball head coach Brad Emanuel reminded the girls they wanted to play their best ball in May when the playoffs rolled around.
That’s just what they did.
The Eskomos pieced together a solid end of the season resume, as they finished the year winning 10 of their last 12 games – including nine straight. Their late-season heroics guided them to a Section 7AA third-place finish after a pair of losses to eventual Class AA state champion Hermantown.
“I was very proud of the way the kids played and got better as the season went along,” Emanuel said about his Polar League champions. “They got better and better, and once playoff time came around, they were playing their best softball.”
Esko’s impressive run at the end of the season led them to a 17-8 overall record – five more wins than their 12-8 mark a year past. They lose five seniors to graduation in catcher Erin Emanuel, pitcher Kelsey Saralampi, third baseman Farrah Wirtz, shortstop Sarah Krocka and outfielder Kortney Lindberg.
And even though their season came to a close against the state champs, Emanuel said he knew the girls gave it all they had.
“I’ll never second guess the efforts of these kids,” he said. “Their drive and determination was great. These kids laid it all on the line and they got as far as their will, talent and desire was willing to take them. They’re just a great bunch.”