Braves win two out of three

Courtesy photo Gladstone’s Sydney Herioux dives to field a ground ball during Saturday’s tournament at Beaverton.

BEAVERTON, Mich. — The Gladstone Braves put together three solid softball games here Saturday, reaching the semifinals of the Beaverton Invitational.

Gladstone topped Beaverton 6-2 and Ithaca 5-3 before dropping a 1-0 decision to Unionville-Sebewaing.

Andie Balenger, the hard-luck losing pitcher in the semifinal, allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked one.

The Braves (7-1) were limited to one hit, giving them their only baserunner.

“Andie pitched an excellent game,” said Braves’ coach John Nevala. “They loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning and their girl got a base hit. It was good competition. I think we played good softball overall, except our bats went cold in the last game. Although, they had a good pitcher. It’s always nice to play downstate and we showed we can play with any of those teams.”

In the opener, Balenger fanned seven, walked one and allowed six hits to the host team.

The score was tied 1-1 in the fifth before the Braves scored five times.

“That gave us a little breathing room and made Andie’s job easier,” said Nevala. “Andie did good. She had good control.”

Gladstone’s Jenna Tardiff and Taelor Zeise had two hits each and Sydney Herioux drove in two runs.

Gladstone then collected 10 hits in a 5-3 conquest of Ithaca.

Herioux led the way with three hits and three RBIs. Taylor Trudeau also had three hits.

“We had a couple hits get close to the fence,” said Nevala. “We had a strong wind blowing in which made it hard to judge flyballs. The ball sometimes spinned away. Although, it was the same for all teams.”

Morgan Letteriello took the win, striking out two, walking one and allowing nine hits.

“Morgan had good control, too,” said Nevala. “She made them put the ball in play and our defense helped her out.”

The Braves host Marquette in a doubleheader Tuesday.