Big third inning lifts Indians over Bucs
BARK RIVER — The Gladstone Indians gained plenty of separation in the third inning here Tuesday night in a 13-1 American Legion baseball victory in five innings over the Bark River Bucs.
Gladstone, taking advantage of six walks, two hit batsmen and an error, scored nine times in the third for a 10-0 advantage.
“It took us a while to get going, then everybody kind of jumped on board,” said Indians’ manager Justin Jurek. “Going back-to-back games with good hitting and defense absolutely gives us momentum heading into the postseason.”
Gladstone hosts Negaunee Thursday at 5 p.m. in a zone tournament opener. Bark River opens against Menominee Thursday at 8 in Gladstone.
The Indians opened the scoring on Ian Schwalbach’s double to left field in the first and added three runs in the fifth.
“We’ve struggled in the past couple games throwing strikes,” said Bucs’ manager Matt Richer. “They were patient and we made a couple errors. This was an opportunity for us to give some pitchers some work. We gave them 30-40 pitches, then we pulled them. We also mixed up our lineup. This was a hard game to experiment, but we wanted to try some things.”
Gladstone collected 11 hits. Ian Schwalbach had two, including a two-run double to left in the third and Carson Shea had a two-run single to center in the third among his two hits.
Cooper Cavadeas pitched three innings, striking out one, walking two and allowing a run on four hits. Ben Kelly allowed a walk and no hits in the final two frames.
“We threw strikes,” said Jurek. “We wanted to give a couple guys some innings and get them ready for the zones. It should be a good game (against Negaunee). It’s nice to be playing at home. It’s always an advantage when you don’t have to travel.”
Mason Korhonen, the first of five Bark River pitchers, took the loss. He fanned one, walked one and gave up a run on four hits through two frames. The five hurlers combined for 12 walks.
“Mason pitched solid for two innings, then we struggled throwing strikes,” said Richer. “Gladstone has a very good team. They’re two-time defending (Class A) state champions for a reason. They’re the team to beat until somebody does beat them.”