Indians Score Late To Win Wild Game Over Blues
Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos taken by Diane LaChance, and see/hear interviews with Aedan Creten, Dayton Bernson, and Indians Manager Scott Kwarciany.
GLADSTONE---The Gladstone Indians American Legion Baseball team won its first game of the season Tuesday night with a 5-2 win over the Marquette Blues at Don Olsen Field.
The win broke a four-game losing streak for Gladstone, and avenged a lopsided loss to Marquette last Friday afternoon.
Both teams had chances to score early, but Marquette pitcher Hayden Rockhill and Gladstone starter Caden Alworden both got off the hook.
The Indians got sharply-hit singles from Ryan Polley and Dayton Bernson in the bottom of the first inning, but Rockhill got Trevor Hanson to fly out to center to end the inning.
In the second inning, Marquette's Jake Peterson led off with a single, but he was thrown out trying to steal second by Gladstone catcher Nick Martin. Brady Wright and Justin Wenk both got hits, but Alworden, pitching for the first time in eleven months, struck out Erik Johnson and coaxed Kyle Frusti into flying out to center to end the threat.
Rockhill walked a batter and hit another in the bottom of the second inning, but escaped by striking out John Soderman to end the inning. Then in the bottom of the third inning, Gladstone broke through with a pair of runs.
Polley was hit by a pitch to start the inning and then Mason LaChance hit a bloop single to right field. Bernson followed with s shot up the right-center field gap to score the game's first run. After Rockhill walked Hanson to reload the bases with no outs, Owen Trombley got a fly ball to bring home the second run.
Rochkill recovered to strike out both Nick Martin and Soderman to end the inning.
Marquette, however, got even in the top of the fourth inning.
With one out, Wright hit a grounder off the end of the bat between first and second. Hanson raced over from first when Alworden wasn't there yet from the mound. The Indians were convinced that Hanson won the race to the bag, but the infield umpire disagreed.
Wright was safe, and Alworden got Justin Wenk to hit a sharp grounder to short. Tyler Darmogray got the ball and threw wildly to second to try to get the force out. The error put two men on base, and then Erik Johnson smoked Marquette's hardest-hit ball of the night to the left field fence. It bounced over for an RBI ground-rule double.
Kyle Frusti's sacrafice fly tied the game at 2-2.
In the top of the sixth, Alworden gave way to youngster Aedan Creten on the hill. He walked Wenk with one out, but struck out both Johnson and Frusti swining to end the threat.
The bottom of the sixth inning was dramatic, and bizarre. With one out, Soderman fell behind in the count 0-2 but battled back through a couple of foul balls before hitting a slow roller to third on a 3-2 pitch. He beat it out for an infield single.
Darmogray also had two strikes on him when Maki hit him with a pitch, putting two men on for Gladstone. After Maki struck out Polley on a borderline 3-2 strike call, LaChance hit one toward short. The ball bounced off the foot of the infield umpire, and the go-ahead run scored.
But the home plate umpire called it a "dead ball" and Soderman had to go back to third.
On the next pitch, Maki threw a wild pitch that the Marquette catcher, Peterson, raced back and pounced on. He whipped it back to Maki covering to the plate, and he put the tag on the sliding Sodernan. The ruling was "safe" and Gladstone had a 3-2 lead.
Then, things went bad for Marquette, when Bernson hit one to Frusti to third. Frusti rushed a high throw to first base off of Wright's glove and two runs scored, making it 5-2.
Creten had problems in the seventh inning when he walked one man and hit another. But with two out, Creten battled the 19-year-old Peterson, who hit two home runs against Gladstone in last Friday's Blues win. This time, Creten got a swinging strike three after several foul balls, and the Indians celebrated their first win of the season.
Creten earned the win with two innings of relief, allowing no runs or hits. Alworden got a no-decision in his five-inning debut, yielding two runs (one earned) on six hits.
Rockill got a no-decision over four-plus innings of work. He gave up two runs on four hits and three walks. He also hit two batters and struck out five. Maki took the loss, allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits.
Marquette (2-3) travels to Delta County for a sixth straight game Wednesday night in Escanaba. Game time is 6:00. It will be broadcast on WUPT-FM (100.3 The Point) in Marquette, and WCHT-AM/FM (600/93.5) in Marquette.
Gladstone (1-4) will host Bark River Wednesday night at 7:30.