Gladstone girls sweep Marquette

Austin Hemmingson | Escanaba Daily Press MarquetteÕs Rayna Warchock (left) is thrown out at first base as GladstoneÕs Taelor Zeise (right) extends to get the out during the second game of TuesdayÕs doubleheader at Gladstone.

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone softball team scored early and often in a doubleheader sweep over Marquette in Great Northern Conference action here Tuesday afternoon.

The Braves won the opener 17-2 in four innings behind four RBIs and a home run from Jenna Tardiff, then won the nightcap 17-7 in five innings.

Maddie Ahlgren chipped in with three hits in the opener while Taylor Trudeau, Sydney Herioux, Taelor Zeise and Morgan Letteriello each added two. Andie Balenger pitched three innings for the win, giving up two runs and four hits while striking out two. Letteriello pitched a scoreless third.

Amanda McIntire took the loss for the Redettes (0-5), giving up 17 runs on 17 hits while striking out two and walking two. Maiya King had two hits and a run to the lead the offense.

“I thought the first game we kinda let down after we fell behind a little bit. It easily could have been 4-4 after three innings,” Redettes’ coach Paul Seibert said. “We made a ton of mistakes and probably gave them an extra 10 outs in that game. It was probably a little bit due to the fact that we haven’t got outside yet — tomorrow will probably be our first practice outside. But at the same time, we can’t use that as an excuse. They haven’t been able to get outside much either.”

The Redettes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first in the nightcap off Letteriello, but Gladstone (9-1) quickly answered with two runs in the bottom half, then added two more in the second to take a 4-3 lead. Sofia VandenEnde answered for the Redettes with a home run in the third to tie it at four.

“Realistically, we were actually kinda flat today,” Braves’ coach Darin Hunter said. “We had some mental mistakes that we normally aren’t seeing, especially on defense. Our bats came around late in the game — in both games actually. I’m not taking anything away from Marquette because they hung in there and gave us everything we can handle today.”

The Braves blew the game open with eights runs in the third to take a 12-4 advantage. The inning was sparked by back-to-back home runs by Zeise and Ahlgren.

“It was nice to see Z(eise) hit that home run. She was struggling a little bit and she worked on a couple things between games and it came through,” Hunter said. “It’s nice to see when you’re working with the kids that they listen and they actually execute it. It worked out well for her.”

Marquette added runs in the fourth and fifth to extend the game, but Gladstone ended it with a pair of runs in the fifth.

“I thought in the second game we played with a little more intensity and hit the ball a little bit better .. we made some plays at least,” Seibert said. “They kinda broke it open in the bottom of the third, and then of course we gave them a ton of extra outs. That’s the biggest thing with this group is I’m teaching them not to give up. i love playing against teams like this because they make you earn everything and they’re always well-coached. We have to get better every pitch.”

Letteriello started the game on the mound, surrendering three runs on five hits while striking out three. Balenger pitched the final three innings for the win, giving up four runs on four hits while striking out three. Tardiff had three hits and three RBIs. Herioux added three RBIs while Zeise and Letteriello each had two hits.

“Wins are wins, even if they’re not pretty,” Hunter said. “We’re 4-0 in the GNC right now, but the girls have to learn that they have to come mentally prepared every game. We expect that, and they expect that out of themselves, so I think we’ll see a solid practice tomorrow.

Rayna Warchock took the loss for Marquette, giving up 17 runs on 11 hits while walking eight and striking out just one. VandenEnde led the offensive attack with three hits, three runs and two RBIs. King added two hits and two RBIs.

The Braves play a single game at Menominee Thursday, while the Redettes visit Kingsford.