Braves drop a pair

ROCKFORD — The Gladstone baseball team dropped a pair of games here Saturday. The Braves fell to host Rockford 11-6 in their opener and then dropped an 11-6 decision to Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

The Braves (3-2) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Rockford when Cody Frappier doubled home Caden Alworden, and a wild pitch scored the second run.

The Rams answered to tie it at 2 off Braves’ pitcher Carson Shea in the bottom half, and then took a 4-2 lead after three innings.

Ian Schwalbach scored on an error to cut the deficit to 4-3 in the fourth, but Rockford added three runs in the bottom half.

“We got off to a good start, but our pitching wasn’t good for both games. We gave up many way too many walks, and then you sprinkle in an error or two, and next thing you know you’re behind in the game,” Braves’ coach Kelly Shea said.

“Our pitchers were behind in the batting count all day. When that happens, your pitching count gets high and you have to give in to the batter. You can’t throw it right down the middle against good teams or they’re going to smash it.”

Carson Shea gave up seven runs (five earned) on eight hits and three walks in four innings of work. Drake Forrest pitched the fifth and sixth innings, and was charged with four earned runs on five hits.

The Braves added three runs but it was too little, too late. Dan Martin had two hits and Cooper Cavadeas had three RBIs.

Gladstone jumped out to a 2-0 lead again in the first inning against the Crusaders on a RBI double by Cody Frappier and a RBI single by Doby Gillis.

The Crusaders answered with single runs in the second and third off Braves’ pitcher Jared Crow to tie it at 2, and then added four runs off in the fourth to gain a 6-2 advantage.

Crow gave up six runs (four earned) on five hits and five walks in 3 1/3 innings.

“The second game was kind of the same thing. We got off to a nice start and got into trouble again with walks, and then they got a couple hits on us,” coach Shea said. “I thought we were in good shape but we just couldn’t get that big hit. We stranded a lot of guys and couldn’t get key hits at the right time. They seemed to come through with getting the big hit.”

The Braves added a run in the fifth before the Crusasders tacked on three more in the sixth to make it 9-5. Gladstone scored a single run in the seventh, but couldn’t get any closer.

Zach Hanson allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Carson Shea had three hits and Martin had two RBIs.

“The most positive thing was our hitting was good. The thing I’m happy about is we went down there and competed. If we played our best ball we could have won, but we didn’t do that,” coach Shea said.

“At this point we’ve played five games — I don’t think a lot of teams in the U.P. have done that. We’re playing good teams and we’re playing good ball.”

The Braves visit Menominee for a doubleheader Thursday.