Indians struggle at Gregg Johnson Memorial Tournament

GLADSTONE – There were plenty of scoring opportunities for Gladstone in the Gregg Johnson Memorial American Legion Baseball tournament Saturday night.

The Indians, however, were unable to convert on most as they fell to two-time defending champ DePere, Wis. 5-4 and Plover, Wis. 9-3 at Don Olsen Field.

Gladstone (12-10) stranded 14 baserunners, including a trio with the score tied at 1 in the second innings. The Indians left at least one runner aboard in all seven frames.

“All weekend, I thought we hit the ball pretty good,” said Gladstone coach Andy Schwartz. “Overall, we hit better tonight than last night. We had some good swings, but the other team made some good plays. Plover is a very good team. They had a timely hit here and there.”

Plover (12-0), which left 10 on the basepaths, scored four times for a 5-1 advantage in the third. In that inning, the Black Sox took advantage of three walks, a hit batsman and rightfielder Alex Oliver’s two-run single to rightfield.

The Black Sox, taking advantage of three more walks and centerfielder Ryan Makuski’s double to left, hiked the lead to 7-1 in the fifth.

Gladstone scored its second run on Hunter Garling’s single to right in its half of the fifth and trimmed its deficit to 7-3 in the sixth when catcher Justin Jurek scored on an error.

Plover finished the scoring with a pair of runs in the seventh.

The Black Sox took a 1-0 lead on designated hitter Sterling King’s double to left in the first.

Gladstone tied the score on Hayden Hardwick’s double to center in its half of the frame.

Garling collected three hits and Hardwick finished with two doubles for the Indians, who finished 1-3 in the tourney and visit Escanaba Tuesday for an 8 p.m. contest.

Makuski and Oliver had two hits apiece for the Black Sox, who finished with 10 off three Gladstone pitchers.

Garling, who worked the first three innings, absorbed the loss. He struck out one, walked four, hit a batter and allowed five runs on four hits. The Indians’ hurlers combined to allow eight walks.

Cody Frazer and Hardwick collected three hits each and Jake Pearson added two against DePere, which grabbed an early 3-0 lead.

Brad Pierre and Jack Paulson had two hits each for DePere.

“We were always playing from behind and couldn’t get the timely hit,” said Schwartz. “But the kids didn’t hang their heads. They kept battling. When the kids give a good effort, that’s all you can ask.”

In other games, Riley Lynch collected three hits, including an early two-run homer, as Marquette Blue outlasted Chief Pontiac 9-8.

Steele O’Boyle had two hits, leading Midland Berryhill to a 7-0 conquest of Sault, Ont.

Chief Pontiac opened Saturday’s play by whipping Sault, Ont. 10-3.