GLADSTONE - Pitching by committee worked reasonably well for the Gladstone Indians Wednesday night as they posted an 8-2 American Legion baseball victory over the Channing Railroaders.
The Indians (21-2) used three pitchers in the contest, which served as a tune-up for this weekend's Gregg Johnson Memorial tournament.
"With the big tournament coming up, we wanted to save some arms," said Gladstone manager Jim Groleau. "It worked the way we wanted."
Holly Richer | Daily Press
Channing first baseman Brad Gustafson chases a wild pickoff throw from the pitcher as Jared Stenson of Gladstone watches in the sixth inning Wednesday at Don Olsen Field. Stenson reached second base on the error. For more photos, visit cu.dailypress.net.
Gladstone is scheduled to host the Sault Ste. Marie-based Eastern U.P. Travelers Friday at 5:15 p.m. The Indians then face AshPort, Wis. at 8.
Blake Ballard pitched the first two innings for Gladstone. Christian Groleau worked the next three and Lucas LaCosse did the final two frames. The trio combined for three strikeouts and allowed four walks and five hits.
A three-run homer to left field by Paul Tomaszewski enabled the Indians to gain some separation in the fourth inning, giving them a 5-1 advantage. Cody Frazer then scored on a fielder's choice to make it 6-1.
"That was a nice at-bat by Paul," said manager Groleau. "He got behind in the count (0-2). You're not expecting to hit a home run on an 0-2 pitch, but he came through."
Cody Berg scored Channing's second run on a double play in the sixth.
Gladstone then ended the scoring in its half of the sixth on RBI singles to center by Jared Stenson and Jake Pearson.
The Indians, taking advantage of a throwing error, gained a 2-0 lead in the first.
Bryan Harper then scored on Dom Christian's sacrifice fly to right to pull the Railroaders within 2-1 in the second, setting the stage for Gladstone's big fourth inning.
"That big inning definitely hurt us," said Channing manager Rob Berg. "We're a young ball club, yet this is a good group. We have some good athletes. We're capable of playing good ball. We just need to be more consistent."
Manager Groleau had similar thoughts about the Railroaders.
"Many of the kids from Channing grew up playing in the Iron Mountain North Little League, which had a lot of success over the years," he said. "They're used to winning. Once you get used to winning, it carries over."
Gladstone finished with 10 hits, led by Pearson with three. Tomaszewski and Peyton Jurek added two each.
Harper, who pitched four innings, absorbed the loss. He struck out one, walked three, hit a batter and gave up five runs on eight hits. Noah Berg, who relieved in the fifth, fanned one, walked two and surrendered two runs on two hits.
Channing committed three errors and Gladstone had one.
"Noah's only 14, although he threw against Ishpeming and won," said manager Berg. "Things will get better. It's only a matter of time for us. Only, we need to stop making so many errors. We also have to hit the ball better."
The Railroaders resume Sunday, hosting Luxemburg, Wis. in a doubleheader.