Esko vs. Cloquet

4 p.m., Tuesday, May 22

Teammates turn into rivals in this matchup. Cloquet and Esko are separated by 4.5 miles and they compete as a co-op in 12 sports, but come baseball season, they separate and this year the neighborhood showdown has some steam.

Esko is in the midst of posting its best record in over a decade while clinching its fourth consecutive Polar League Conference championship.  

The Eskomos (15-2, 5-0) are undefeated in May and have wrecked their competition with an average winning margin of 8.6 runs per game since Apr 27.

They also pulled off a rare feat of having four players, Tyler Peterson, Branden Matteen, James LeGarde and Brody Kaldahl, homer against Virginia in a 13-0 victory on May 16.

Cloquet plans to end Esko's season-long run of success.

The Lumberjacks (12-5, 5-2) won nine straight games before losing to Hibbing and Superior in tournament play on May 19, yet they remain in the running for the top seed in Class 3A, Section 7 and are looking for their first state tourney trip since 2015.

Noah Witte recorded 11 strikeouts and allowed one hit in five innings pitched in a 12-0 win against Eveleth-Gilbert on May 11, and the senior is part of the Lumberjacks defense that hasn't allowed more than five runs in any game this May.