Gladstone Takes Two Tight Games From Negaunee

Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos, and to hear comments from Braves players Isaac Ketchum, Austin Pepin, and Cooper Sanville. Also hear from Braves manager Tyler Swanson and Negaunee Manager Jason Siik

The Gladstone Braves and Negaunee Miners hooked up in a pair of tightly-contested baseball games Thursday evening at Don Olsen Field.

The Braves pulled out both games, 2-0 and 4-1, as the Miners stranded 16 baserunners in the doubleheader.

Isaac Ketchum threw a complete game for the Braves in the opener, making big pitches with men on base in literally all six innings. He scattered six base hits, and walked just two batters as the team's defense was strong behind him.

The only runs of the game came in the first inning for Gladstone when Casey Alworden led off with a walk on a 3-2 pitch, stole second, and then scored on a base hit to center field by Johnny Soderman. Then with two outs, Cooper Sanville's grounder was fielded well by Negaunee pitcher Aiden Steele, but on the throw to first base, Carsen Belanger's foot came off the bag. Sanville was safe and Soderman scored to make it 2-0.

That was all that Steele allowed, as he matched Ketchum pitch-for-pitch. He allowed only three hits and two walks, but suffered the complete-game pitching loss.

Negaunee stranded two men on base three times in the game, including the final inning, when the Miners were trying to make a late two-out rally. Ketchum struck out the first two me he faced that inning, but he walked Ian Engstrom and Belanger followed with a base hit, putting runners on first and third.

Unfortunately for the Miners, they could not get Belanger to second base on some sign mix-ups, and Matthew Peters grounded out to end the ballgame.

In the nightcap, the Braves scored an unearned run in the first inning and then put it away with three runs in the third inning. Two of those runs came in on the hardest-hit ball of the day, a double to center field by the freshman Sanville.

Meanwhile, Austin Pepin was in control on the mound for Gladstone. Four errors behind him, and a pair of walks, gave Negaunee scoring chances. But just like in the first game, the Miners could not get the big hit and stranded seven more baserunners.

Negaunee's chance to break up Pepin's no-hitter came in the fifth inning when Owen Debelak was safe on an infield error and Howard Johnson scorched a shot that was ticketed for the left-field corner. Except that Sanville was there at third base, caught the hot shot, and threw over to first base for the double play.

But Pepin's no-hit bid lasted only one pitch into the final inning, when Evan Gauthier ripped a bullet to left field for a solid base hit. He eventually scored on a base hit to right field by Mason Banfield. Negaunee got another baserunner on the Braves' fifth error of the game, but Pepin finished things by getting Ethan Gauthier to ground out.

Morgan Robar took the loss for Negaune, throwing 2 2/3 innings and giving up all four runs. Banfield threw the final 2 2/3 innings and did well, allowing no runs on two hits.

The win improved Gladstone's record to 5-2 heading into a Friday afternoon game in Escanaba. The Braves lost that game to the Eskymos, 8-4. The loss for Negaunee dropped the Miners to 3-5 on the season heading into a Friday game against Superior Central. Negaunee won that game in Eben Junction, 14-5.

LISTEN: Tyler Swanson post-game comments
LISTEN: Austin Pepin post-game comments
LISTEN: Cooper Sanville post-game comments
LISTEN: Issac Ketchum post-game comments
LISTEN: Negaunee Manager Jason Siik comments