Kelly fires no-hitter, Indians top Cubs 1-0

Justin St. Ours | Daily Press Gladstone’s Ben Kelly, who threw a no-hitter against Escanaba, winds up for a pitch Thursday at Escanaba.

ESCANABA — After a marathon junior league game, the Gladstone American Legion baseball team and the Escanaba Cubs dueled from the mound here Thursday. Gladstone’s Ben Kelly fired a no-hitter and Escanaba’s Johnny Schlenvogt threw a one-hitter as the Indians snuck past the Cubs to win 1-0.

“Yeah, Ben (really stood out),” Indians’ manager Justin Jurek said. “Ben threw a heck of a game. He definitely threw strikes, got ahead on counts and was able to do what he wanted with his pitches. He was definitely lights out for us with a great defense behind him.”

Neither team put anyone on base until the bottom of the second inning when Schlenvogt drew a walk to give the Cubs (2-13) their first baserunner. He and the next runner were both tagged out on their way to second base, and the inning ended with Noah Lancour getting tagged out at first.

The lone hit of the game came in the top of third as Gladstone’s Elijah Shier singled on a ground ball and reached on a controversial call.

“Really, our pitcher didn’t give up a hit either,” Cubs’ manager Jon Bintner said. “Granted, he got out anyway, but the ball beat the player to first base.”

Caden Alworden then drew a walk, but the Indians’ inning was finished with a double play.

“They helped us stay in it with a couple baserunning errors and running into a double play on a fly ball,” Bintner said. “That helped clear away their baserunners.”

Despite getting three on base thanks to two walks and a fielding error, the Indians (10-6) were unable to capitalize in the top of the fourth, leaving the game scoreless.

Gladstone scored the game’s only run in the top of the fifth. Parker Frappier drew a walk to start the inning. After a groundout advanced Frappier to second, Alworden hit a line drive to reach on a fielding error and score Frappier.

“That fielding error cost us the run,” Bintner said. “We make the bigger mistake and we lose the game.”

Kelly shut down the Cubs for the rest of the game, giving up just two more walks.

“Other than putting the ball in play with two strikes, I’m happy with how the game went,” Bintner said. “Sometimes you got to tip your hat to the pitcher. Both pitchers threw a great baseball game. Other than our two mishaps, we played one heck of a game. Probably, nine times out of 10 you win a game like that. It just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Kelly earned the win over seven innings, allowing five walks and striking out six. Shier collected one hit.

Schlenvogt took the loss for the Cubs over seven innings, allowing one hit, four walks and one unearned run while striking out five.

“Johnny threw a heck of a game too,” Jurek said. “With a questionable call in there, he could’ve had his own no-hitter too. He threw lights out too and kept us guessing. He had his breaking ball working and threw a lot of fastballs.”

Gladstone, which won the junior league game 15-13, travels to Green Bay Sunday, while Escanaba hosts Menominee Tuesday.