Gladstone knocks off Escanaba in states

ESCANABA – Gladstone seized the momentum in the middle innings Thursday night, earning a 6-3 American Legion baseball triumph over Escanaba in the opening round of the Class A state tournament.

The victory enabled the Indians to move a step closer to defending their title. It also marked the first time they beat the Cubs in four meetings this season.

The Indians were to return to Al Ness Field at noon today to face Marquette, which edged Hudson 2-1 in an earlier contest.

“The guys were ready to go,” Gladstone manager Robert Hardwick said “They relaxed and had fun out there tonight. We finally started to click and played the way we’re capable.”

Esky and Hudson meet today at 3 p.m., followed by another elimination game at 6.

Esky gained a 2-0 lead in the third when Tyler Hardwick scored on Sean Bissell’s ground out to first base.

Gladstone answered with three runs in the fourth.

Back-to-back infield singles by Hunter Garling and Christian Tackman got Gladstone going with one out.

The Indians scored their first run on a bases-loaded walk to Logan Hardwick, tied the contest on A.J. Lundberg’s single to centerfield and took the lead on Owen Hansen’s grounder to second.

“I think their infield singles got to us,” Esky manager Tom Ohman said.

“The kids got frustrated and for two innings, put more pressure on themselves than they had to. We didn’t make the big plays and they gained the momentum bigtime.”

Gladstone extended its lead to 4-2 on Tackman’s single to left.

A sacrifice fly to right by Braeden Lamberg raised the count to 5-2 and Justin Jurek scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-2.

The Indians collected five of their eight hits during the fourth and fifth frames.

Garling, Tackman and Jake Peterson led the Indians with two hits each.

Jurek pitched the entire for the win. He struck out six, walked two and allowed five hits.

Brandon Punzel, who worked four innings and faced three hitters in the fifth, absorbed the loss. He fanned four, walked four and gave up six runs on seven hits.

Relief pitcher Justin Popelka then fanned six, walked one and gave up a hit in the final three frames.

Esky’s Tyler Hardwick had two hits, including an RBI- single to left in the fifth.

The Cubs got their first three hitters on base that inning before Jurek retired the next three in order.

“Our guys in the bottom of the order got on base, but we weren’t able to capitalize,” Ohman said.

“Give Jurek credit. He threw strikes.

“Right now, I’m as frustrated as the kids. Our pitchers need to step up.”

Esky opened the scoring in the first on a single to right by Punzel.

Gladstone knocks off Escanaba in states

ESCANABA – Gladstone seized the momentum in the middle innings Thursday night, earning a 6-3 American Legion baseball triumph over Escanaba in the opening round of the Class A state tournament.

The victory enabled the Indians to move a step closer to defending their title. It also marked the first time they beat the Cubs in four meetings this season.

The Indians were to return to Al Ness Field at noon today to face Marquette, which edged Hudson 2-1 in an earlier contest.

“The guys were ready to go,” Gladstone manager Robert Hardwick said “They relaxed and had fun out there tonight. We finally started to click and played the way we’re capable.”

Esky and Hudson meet today at 3 p.m., followed by another elimination game at 6.

Esky gained a 2-0 lead in the third when Tyler Hardwick scored on Sean Bissell’s ground out to first base.

Gladstone answered with three runs in the fourth.

Back-to-back infield singles by Hunter Garling and Christian Tackman got Gladstone going with one out.

The Indians scored their first run on a bases-loaded walk to Logan Hardwick, tied the contest on A.J. Lundberg’s single to centerfield and took the lead on Owen Hansen’s grounder to second.

“I think their infield singles got to us,” Esky manager Tom Ohman said.

“The kids got frustrated and for two innings, put more pressure on themselves than they had to. We didn’t make the big plays and they gained the momentum bigtime.”

Gladstone extended its lead to 4-2 on Tackman’s single to left.

A sacrifice fly to right by Braeden Lamberg raised the count to 5-2 and Justin Jurek scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-2.

The Indians collected five of their eight hits during the fourth and fifth frames.

Garling, Tackman and Jake Peterson led the Indians with two hits each.

Jurek pitched the entire for the win. He struck out six, walked two and allowed five hits.

Brandon Punzel, who worked four innings and faced three hitters in the fifth, absorbed the loss. He fanned four, walked four and gave up six runs on seven hits.

Relief pitcher Justin Popelka then fanned six, walked one and gave up a hit in the final three frames.

Esky’s Tyler Hardwick had two hits, including an RBI- single to left in the fifth.

The Cubs got their first three hitters on base that inning before Jurek retired the next three in order.

“Our guys in the bottom of the order got on base, but we weren’t able to capitalize,” Ohman said.

“Give Jurek credit. He threw strikes.

“Right now, I’m as frustrated as the kids. Our pitchers need to step up.”

Esky opened the scoring in the first on a single to right by Punzel.