Emilee Wilson tossed a no-hitter and the Esko Eskomos rode some strong hitting on their way to a 15-0 three-inning mercy rule win over the Pine City Dragons Tuesday night in Esko in the opening game of the season for both teams.
"We were able to play everyone so in that way it was a good way to open the season," said Esko coach Jeff "Huff" Emanuel. "We had to remind the girls that this is not how things will be in every game for them, but to enjoy the day."
The last time the Eskomos hit the field was at the Minnesota State Class AA tournament when they had the difficult task of trying to hit LeSeur-Henderson star pitcher Carlie Brandt. Brandt, who now pitches for the Minnesota Gophers, topped out at 65 miles per hour on her fastball and is currently 6-0 and carrying a .73 earned run average for Minnesota.
"It was tough for some of our returning players who saw Brandt and then faced pitching [Tuesday] that was more like a change-up, so some of them had trouble staying back and letting the pitch get to them," Emanuel said. "Other than that, our kids scorched the ball hard and there isn't much more to say."
Mackenzie Holland led the game off with a searing line drive that just missed the pitcher. From that point on, the Eskomos rolled by PIne City, scoring nine runs in the first inning.
"That first hit set the tone for the game," Emanuel said. "While we hit the ball, Emilee (Wilson) our pitcher was throwing heat. She faced the minimum number of batters and only one of their players touched the ball and that was on a foul ball."
Wilson threw just 32 pitches in the game and faced only nine batters. The lone Dragon to reach base was able to do so on a walk, but then was promptly thrown out while trying to steal second. Wilson struck out eight of the nine batters she faced.
Both Wilson and Hannah Stark bashed out home runs for the Eskomos in the win. Stark went 3-for-3, both Wilson and Holland were 2-for-3 in leading the Esko offense.
"It was really nice to play and everyone was excited to get the season started," mentioned Emanuel. "It was also nice for the young kids with some of them getting their first hits as varsity players."
Esko will be back at home on Friday when they host the Silver Bay Mariners in their second game of the season.