GLADSTONE - The Gladstone Indians made sure there was no drama in an American Legion baseball game Thursday night as they needed just five innings to post a 10-0 victory over the Channing Railroaders.
Gladstone scored five times in the first inning and added five runs in the fourth, improving to 25-7 overall.
"It was nice to get the jump early," said Gladstone manager Jim Groleau. "This was a very important game for us after a couple rough tournaments (Gregg Johnson Memorial and Kimberly, Wis. Invitational). This gets us back into the conference (Mid-Peninsula League) state of mind."
Paul Tomaszewski of Gladstone steals second base in the first inning Thursday as C hanning second baseman Cody Berg awaits the late throw in American Legion baseball. (Daily Press photo by Dennis Grall)
Winning pitcher Justin Jurek and Levi Cunningham combined on a one-hitter Thursday for the Indians, who posted a combined 3-6 record in the two tourneys.
Jurek worked four innings. He struck out four and allowed only one walk and an infield single to Noah Berg. Cunningham then fanned two and hit one of the four hitters he faced in the fifth.
"Justin hadn't thrown in a while (due to a wrist injury), but he's going to be a key for us in the (post-season) tournaments," said Groleau. "He threw the ball real well tonight. Levi will throw strikes when called upon, and tonight he did the job."
The Indians sent 10 batters to the plate in the opening frame, taking advantage of four walks, RBI singles by Cody Frazer and Jared Stenson and Blake Ballard's two-run single to center field.
"We kind of expected that," said Channing manager Rob Berg. "We have a lot of sore arms, but we should be ready and healthy for the league tournament. Hats off to Gladstone. Their pitchers really had it going tonight, and they played a great game. We were hitting the ball right at people."
In the fourth, the Indians again sent 10 to the plate and took advantage of three walks and an error. Also, Frazer drilled an RBI single to left, Jake Pearson added a two-run single to left, followed by Stenson's RBI single to center.
Moments later, Pearson ended the scoring on Ballard's sacrifice fly to left.
The Indians finished with six hits, led by Frazer and Stenson with two apiece. They played without Peyton Jurek, who was out with a knee injury.
"The middle and top of the batting order has carried us all year," said Groleau. "Now, the guys in the bottom of the order need to get their bats going."
Noah Berg worked three innings and absorbed the loss. He fanned two, walked five and gave up six runs on three hits. Logan O'Neil relieved with a baserunner aboard with nobody out in the fourth.
Gladstone resumes Sunday, hosting Hancock in a crucial league doubleheader at noon.
The Indians are the overall league leaders with just one loss. Hancock leads the North Division and is second overall at 13-3.
"Hancock has a pretty solid team," said Groleau. "That will be a big test for us."
The Railroaders played without Ken Pekarek, who's attending a quarterback camp in Green Bay. They return to Don Olsen Field July 14 for the league tournament.