Full strength Indians blast Blue Storm

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone Indians played the opportunist’s role until their bats came alive Thursday night, posting a 12-0 American Legion baseball victory in five innings over the Ishpeming Blue Storm.

Gladstone scored seven times in the first two frames by taking advantage of seven walks, three wild pitches, a passed ball and an error.

The Indians then collected four of their seven hits in the fourth when they added five runs.

“We told the kids to take advantage of what they gave us early,” said Gladstone coach Jim Groleau. “They had a young kid struggling with the strike zone and we took advantage of it.”

Cody Frazier led off the fourth with a home run to left-centerfield for the Indians (3-7), who had their regular lineup available for the first time this season.

“We knew Cody was due to have one leave the yard and he put a nice swing on it,” said Groleau. “Once they started finding the strike zone, we started putting pretty good swings on the ball. It was great getting the whole team back. This had been such a learning curve for the younger kids.”

The Indians, taking advantage of three additional walks in the fourth, scored two of its runs in the inning on single to left by Lucas LaCosse.

Gladstone scored twice in the opening frame before putting five across in the second.

Hunter Garling drove in a pair with a double to left in the second, giving the Indians a 7-0 advantage and chasing Ishpeming starter Dan Brown from the hill.

Garling, who pitched the entire contest, tossed a three-hitter, struck out five, walked one and hit three batters.

“It was nice to see Hunter go out there and throw strikes,” said Groleau. “He did a nice job staying ahead of the hitters.”

Brown, the first of three Ishpeming pitchers, lasted 1 1/3 innings and absorbed the loss. Noah Olgren relieved with one out in the second and retired the next two batters and all three Indians’ hitters in the third. He was then relieved by Tyler Millimaki in the fourth.

“Dan started out good,” said Ishpeming manager Sawyer Fisher. “Dan usually pitches well for us, but he just didn’t have it tonight. This is Noah’s first year as a full-time player and he gave us a couple good innings. Gladstone was hitting the ball hard and finding the gaps.”

The teams combined for just one error.

“We’re still trying to figure things out,” said Fisher. “We’re strong defensively. We just have to find more consistency at the plate. We need to getting into the (batting) cage and get some reps.”

The Blue Storm (3-4) visits Channing tonight. The Indians travel to Hancock for a doubleheader Saturday.