Gladstone sweeps Ducks
GLADSTONE — The Gladstone Indians elected to go with a younger lineup in the second game of an Under-19 baseball doubleheader here Sunday, and the youngsters responded with a 9-8 victory over the Eastern U.P. Wood Ducks.
Gladstone, fueled by an eight-run fifth inning, also won the opener 14-5.
Gladstone (8-4) snapped a 7-7 tie when Caden Alworden was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. The Indians then gained a 9-7 cushion on Ryan Polley’s sacrifice fly to centerfield.
EUP’s Dalton Graham drilled a one-out triple to left in the seventh, then brought the Sault Ste. Marie-based team within the final one-run margin on a wild pitch.
The victory enabled the Indians to go 3-for-4 this weekend, edging Ashwaubenon, Wis. 5-4 Saturday at Menominee before bowing to the host Red Wave 12-5.
“This was an exciting game, especially for the guys who hadn’t gotten to play a lot of innings,” said Gladstone manager Justin Jurek. “It was cool to watch the younger guys come through in the late innings and find a way to win. Overall, I thought all our guys made a lot of strides this weekend.”
The Indians gained a 7-4 lead on Riley Baldovski’s single to left in the fifth.
EUP (1-12) didn’t just go away, however, scoring three times to tie the score in the sixth.
“We have to find some practice time,” said EUP manager Kris Bontrager. “We have a young team and need to work on fundamentals. The team is full of fight. The guys didn’t hang their heads at all.”
The Wood Ducks, taking advantage of a fielding error and walk, tied the score on Ian Earl’s single to left in the sixth in this see-saw contest.
Baldovski collected three of Gladstone’s 10 hits, including an RBI single to center in the first. Trevor Hanson and Owen Trombley added two hits each.
EUP finished with 12 hits, including three by E.J. Suggitt. Ben Swanson and Dryden Bergeron had two apiece and Vinnie Fables blasted a solo home run to left to pull the Wood Ducks even at two in the second.
Hanson, who pitched six innings, took the win. He struck out six, walked one and gave up seven runs on 10 hits. Parker Frappier then allowed a run on two hits in the seventh.
“Overall, we threw a lot of guys and made some good strides,” said Jurek. “We’re glad to get a lot of guys playing time and everybody got a lot of good innings.”
Dalton Graham, the first of three EUP pitchers, absorbed the loss despite 12 strikeouts.
He walked six and surrendered six runs on seven hits through four frames.
EUP gained an early 4-0 lead and was still within 6-5 prior to Gladstone’s big fifth inning in the opener.
“We’re in a funk right now,” said Bontrager. “It seems like we’re finding ways to lose games. This is just a process. We’re trying to learn how to win games.”
The Indians travel to Marquette for a doubleheader Wednesday. The Wood Ducks host Marquette in a twinbill Saturday.