Gladstone major girls earn tourney No. 1 seed
TECUMSEH — It was three up, three down for the Gladstone Major All-Stars’ softball team in pool play of their state tournament. After winning a pair of games over the weekend, Gladstone pulled out a 2-1 nail-biter over St. Clair here Monday on a walkoff hit by Rylee Gerow.
The win gives Gladstone the No. 1 seed in the state tournament, where it opens single-elimination play against Cheboygan in the quarterfinals today at 11:30 a.m.
Gladstone opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Lauren Sundquist opened the frame with a walk and got drove in on an RBI single to right field by Maggie Buckley.
St. Clair then answered with a run in the second to tie it at 1.
Gladstone’s Reese Herioux started the second inning with a triple, but over ran the base and got tagged out. However, Gladstone manager Rick Pepin saw it as a big momentum booster.
“She got that big hit, which really got us excited and got the juices flowing for everyone,” Pepin said. “Unfortunately, she over ran third base a little bit and got thrown out. I just want to give her credit for giving us energy early on in the game today. She provided energy for us.”
Gladstone then got robbed of a golden opportunity to take the lead in the fifth. With Tia Schone on third base, Addie Trombley grounded out to the pitcher. St. Clair’s pitcher looked Schone back to third, then threw to first for the out. As Schone darted home, the first baseman made a great throw to the plate for the out.
“That was a very good defensive play by St. Clair,” Pepin said. “It was a bang-bang play. It was very impressive.”
Then, with Montgomery Pepin on first and one out in the sixth, Gerow hit a chopper over the pitcher’s head. The second baseman just slightly bobbled it, allowing the ball to trickle into center field. The second baseman recovered to grab it and attempt to throw Pepin out at third, but the ball hit off the side of the third baseman’s glove and trickled into foul territory to allow Pepin to score the winning run without a play at the plate.
“With two strikes, Rylee Gerow delivered in a big moment,” manager Pepin said. “She delivered big time.”
Pepin earned the complete game win, allowing just one run on three hits, three walks and 12 strikeouts.
“The three hits she allowed came in the first three innings and she struck out four of the last six batters,” manager Pepin said. “She got stronger as the game went on again.”
Buckley went 2 for 3 to lead the offense.
Manager Pepin believes his team is extremely confident.
“Looking at the other pools, there are some really good teams, but we were easily in the most difficult pool and earned our way into the championship bracket,” he said. “We just played our third game in three days and we’re still yet to commit an error, so we’re playing well defensively as a team. We’re going into tomorrow’s game battle-tested and confident.”