GLADSTONE - The Gladstone Braves passed their first postseason test Friday, posting an 8-0 baseball triumph over the Superior Central Cougars in an MHSAA Division 3 district semifinal.
The victory enables the first-year Braves to host Negaunee in today's championship contest, which begins at 1 p.m.
Hunter Garling opened the first inning for Gladstone with a triple along the rightfield line. Moments later, the freshman catcher scored on Justin Jurek's sacrifice fly to center.
The Braves, taking advantage of a walk and two errors, added their second run in the third frame.
Gladstone gained a three-run cushion on Sam Pouliot's double to left in the fourth and raised the count to 4-0 on Tom Bailey's single to center in the fifth.
"We got a couple clutch hits, and a couple sacrifice flies and double steals helped us," said Braves' manager Don Lauscher.
"We also had a few (baserunning) miscues. We'll need to clean those up tomorrow."
The Braves (18-9-1) finished the scoring with four runs in the sixth, taking advantage of two more miscues and a passed ball.
Superior Central (3-16) loaded the bases with one out in the first before junior Christian Groleau retired the next two hitters.
"The Superior Central kids swing the bat well," said Lauscher. "Christian kept the ball up in the (strike) zone early and settled down after the first inning."
The Cougars managed three hits off Groleau, who struck out seven and walked none through six innings.