MARQUETTE - Playing catch-up didn't quite work out for the Gladstone Indians in Thursday's state tournament opener as they dropped a 13-11 American Legion baseball decision in 11 innings to defending champ Hudson.
The loss dropped Gladstone into the loser's bracket. The Indians (38-11) were scheduled to face Menominee (13-24) this morning, with the winner facing Escanaba or Marquette Blue in today's 2 p.m. contest.
Hudson, making extensive use of small ball, gained an 11-6 advantage by scoring five times in the ninth.
Matt Keiser | Marquette Mining Journal
Gladstone pitcher Matt Weyers works in the sixth inning, Thursday against Hudson at Haley Field in Marquette during the Legion Baseball Class A State Tournament.
The Indians responded with five runs in their half of the ninth, tying the contest on Jake Pearson's infield single.
Ninth-inning singles by Paul Tomaszewski, Peyton Jurek and Cody Frazer enabled Gladstone to trim its deficit to 11-9.
Jurek then scored on Hayden Hardwick's grounder to deep short to pull the Indians within 11-10, setting the stage for the equalizer.
"We left everything we had on the field today," said Gladstone manager Jim Groleau. "We just couldn't get the lead. To keep battling back is a credit to our kids. They weren't going to quit. Hudson is a good team and we took them the distance and then some. They knew they were in a ball game today."
Hudson took a 3-0 lead in the fourth, doing all its scoring with two out.
Gladstone tied the score in its half of the fourth on Jared Stenson's RBI double, followed by Blake Ballard's and Matt Weyer's RBI single.
Hudson, taking advantage of an error, a walk and three straight singles, gained a 5-3 lead in the fifth. The downstate squad then added a run to its lead on a two-out error in the sixth.
Peyton Jurek's two-out, two-run single pulled Gladstone within 6-5 in its half of the sixth.
A bases-loaded walk to Weyers in the seventh then enabled the Indians to tie the score at 6.
Gladstone collected 18 hits. Stenson led with four. Pearson and Ballard had three each.
The Indians, however, stranded 17 baserunners.
Weyers took the loss in relief of Ballard, with Justin Jurek recorded the last three outs in the 11th.
"Blake and Matt keep us in the game," said Groleau. "They threw well. We just can't leave 17 runners on base. We had the chances but never got the big hit when we needed it."