Esko plays for section championship today



The Esko softball team has rolled on to the Section 7AA finals.

The Eskomos (21-2) will face Virginia (15-7) at 4 p.m. today (Thursday, June 1) in Grand Rapids, with the Eskomos undefeated in the double-elimination event. The Blue Devils will need two wins to advance, with a second game scheduled immediately after the first if Virginia wins.

Esko, which had a 14-game winning streak snapped May 19 by Jackson County Central, knocked off Virginia 6-3 in Grand Rapids Tuesday. Ashley Pollema paced Esko with a three-run homer in the sixth inning.

Emilee Wilson pitched a complete game for Esko, allowing five hits and striking out nine. Ava Warren took the loss for Virginia, going the distance but allowing 10 hits while fanning 10. Pollema had two hits, including her homer, and drove in four runs.

Jackie Erkkila stole two bases and scored twice for Esko while Davriana Horvath and Dea DeLeon each had a pair of hits. Makenzie Holland had a two-run double for Esko as well.

Also in 7AA, Moose Lake-Willow River (15-9) reached the losers' bracket semifinals in the tournament before falling 3-0 to International Falls Tuesday in Grand Rapids. Ally Bode pitched for the Rebels, throwing a complete-game eight-hitter. Lauren Pederson had two of the Rebels' five hits in the game.

Marissa Kelly earned the win for the Broncos, striking out four and walking none while twirling a five-hit shutout. Amber Tilander homered for International Falls.

Now the stage is set for the Eskomos, who have lost only one game to a Class AA opponent this season. They've also beaten Virginia twice, including a 6-1 victory in Esko on April 21, the second win in their 14-game winning streak.

Esko's computerized QRF ranking of 113.7 places it seventh in the state. The Minnesota High School Coaches' Association ranked Esko 12th in Class AA in its last poll May 25, but Section 7 has no voting representative in that poll.