Esko Legion puts up 8-3 district record
The Esko American Legion baseball team has faced some of the toughest opponents in their district, but they have shown an ability to play tough. "To start the summer we had to play two real tough opponents," mentioned Esko coach Jeff Emanuel. "We...
The Esko American Legion baseball team has faced some of the toughest opponents in their district, but they have shown an ability to play tough.
"To start the summer we had to play two real tough opponents," mentioned Esko coach Jeff Emanuel. "We went to Hinckley and we went to Ely. We did not fare very well, but we played quality opponents which has been great for the kids."
After playing Cambridge and Andover, the Esko Legion played in a tournament in Hinckley June 13-15 and another tournament in Ely the following weekend.
"The Ely Tournament was a lot like the Hinckley Tournament and we played a lot of very good teams," commented Emanuel. "We did not win a game in Ely, but once again the experience our younger kids got can only help our program later this season and into next spring."
On July 1, Esko defeated Nashwauk 7-4 behind the strong pitching of Jake Olson who tossed five strong innings for the win. Steve Lewis picked up the save and Matt Tengesdal had two hits, scored three runs and finishing with a pair of RBIs.
Esko downed Ely 14-7 on July 2 after falling behind 4-1 early in the game.
"Brian Darst struggled early on then got into a groove and finished pitching all seven innings for the win," mentioned Emanuel. "Matt Tengesdal and Ryan Vang both put on hitting displays with 5-for-5 nights and Vang added five RBIs. Olson added three hits and a couple of RBIs."
Following the July 4 weekend, Esko notched a pair of wins over Marble and Moose Lake before finally finishing off their busy schedule with another big win over Chisholm.
In the July 8 13-3 win over Marble, it was Tengesdal pitching all six innings and striking out eight. Tengesdal, Robbie Johnson, Kyle Hall, Jake Olson and Darst all had two hits.
The following day Esko beat Moose Lake 7-5 as Esko put up seven runs in the first three innings.
"Kyle Hall put in the first four innings of great pitching and Mitch Reuer came in for the next two but struggled in the seventh," recalled Emanuel. "Then Hall came back to get the save which was very rare. Hall also hit a homer, so he had the rare feat of picking up the pitching win and the save in the same game, plus the home run."
On July 10 Darst threw well for the first five innings as Esko defeated Chisholm 7-3. Then Tengesdal finished the game in the final two innings.
Matt Tengesdal had three hits and Micah Tengesdal added two hits for Esko in the victory.
"It has been a great summer of baseball and we have a great mix of younger and older kids," said Emanuel. "When everyone shows up we are a tough team to beat. We have great kids and it sure makes coaching easier when the kids respect what we are teaching team and especially respect the game."
Esko has four games remaining on the schedule before beginning playoffs July 29.
"I feel we can do some major damage come playoff time," said Emanuel. "I would be really surprised if this team does not advance to state. We do have the potential, we do have the pitching and we do have the hitting. If everyone shows up there is not a doubt in my mind that we are the best team in our district."
Vang is the leading hitter for Esko with a .583 average, followed by Olson at .474, Matt Tengesdal at .469 and Robbie Johnson who is hitting .391.
Both Darst and Matt Tengesdal have four wins on the summer while Kyle Hall and Olson both have a pair of victories.