GLADSTONE - The Gladstone Indians clinched the Mid-Peninsula League American Legion baseball title on Tuesday night with a 16-0 and 12-4 doubleheader victory at home over the Negaunee Diamonds.
"Going after the league title was a big motivator," Gladstone manager Jim Groleau said. "We told the kids, 'This is what you play for all year,' and they responded. A lot of hard work went into this."
Gladstone exploded for 15 runs in the first two innings of the opener, which ended in five. The Indians then did all their scoring in the first four frames of the nightcap.
Christian Groleau gained the win in Game 2. He struck out five, walked three, hit a batter and allowed three runs on three hits through five innings.
"Christian held them in check," Jim Groleau said. "He did a fine job, as did Lucas. In all fairness to Negaunee, they have a young team. They'll get things straightend out."
Cody Frazer's single to right opened the scoring for Gladstone (30-7) in the first. He added the second run on a double steal and Jake Pearson's triple to right made it 3-0.
The Indians, taking advantage of two errors, added three runs in the second and put up five in the third by cashing in on two more miscues.
Negaunee scored three times by taking advantage of three walks in the fourth, trimming its deficit to 11-3. The Diamonds ended the scoring in the seventh on Tyler Jandron's single to center.
Eric Wideman had two of Negaunee's six hits, including an RBI single in the fourth. Aaron Hodges, who pitched the entire game, absorbed the loss. He fanned eight and walked three. The Diamonds, however, finished with four errors.
In the opener, Jake Pearson and Levi Cunningham combined on a one-hitter. Gladstone had seven hits.
Jandron took the loss, striking out 11 and walking six. The Diamonds had seven miscues.
"Tyler actually pitched a good game," Negaunee manager Robbie Jandron said. "I think we have two good pitchers, only we have the make the plays behind them. Gladstone has a good hitting lineup, probably the best in the league."
The Indians recorded just three earned runs off the Diamonds who had just nine available players, including a pair of 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old.
"We have a lot of young kids," Robbie Jandron said. "Our inexperience has probably hurt this year more than anything."
Gladstone, pulling up several players from the Junior Indians, cleared its bench in both games.
Negaunee hosts the North Division tourney Saturday and league championship game Sunday.