Gladstone eyes Girls Minor state championship

Little League

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Gladstone coach Rick Pepin talks to his team during the recent district championship game against Escanaba. Gladstone will pursue a state championship starting Saturday in Van Buren Township near Belleville.

GLADSTONE — If it ain’t broke, Coach Rick Pepin won’t fix it.

Pepin doesn’t plan to fix anything as the Gladstone Little League Girls Minor (9-10) All-Stars pursue a state softball championship at Van Buren Township near Belleville.

“We’re not changing anything,” the Gladstone head coach said. “What we’ve done to this point has worked.”

Gladstone recently captured a District 10 title and will represent the Upper Peninsula in the 16-team tournament.

Gladstone has three games scheduled in pool play — Saturday 9 a.m. against Holly, Sunday 4:30 p.m. against Parchment and Monday 2 p.m. against Evart.

The top two teams from each of the four pools will advance to the quarterfinals Tuesday. The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday and the title game is set for Thursday at noon.

Pepin is assisted by Brad Trombley and Jason Sundquist.

Members of the team are Addisyn Blowers, Camryn Buckley, Maggie Buckley, Reese Herioux, Morgan Dawley, Samantha Drielick, Montgomery Pepin, Rylee Gerow, Payton Saari, Tia Schone, Lauren Sundquist, Aubree Sargent, Kendall Taylor and Addison Trombley.

Pepin also said Gladstone has a practice scheduled Friday from 12:30 to 2 p.m at the University of Michigan’s Alumni Field, home of the Wolverines’ softball team.

“We told our parents from the beginning that being part of Gladstone All-Stars is the total experience,” Pepin said. “This will be a life-time experience for these girls.”

The team has been busy fund-raising since winning the district championship. Pepin said donations have been rolling in from various businesses in Delta County.

“We are very excited with the fund-raising effort,” Pepin said. “The support from the Gladstone and Escanaba communities has been amazing.”

Pepin isn’t sure what to expect at the state tournament from the other teams. He’ll just make sure Gladstone continues playing its game.

“We’re taking the same approach as the district,” Pepin said. “Our team motto is, ‘One pitch at a time.’ I really feel we have the team and the pitching to be competitive down there.”