Indians seize momentum, stifle Esky

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone Indians gained a little momentum when they seemed to need most Wednesday night, earning a 3-1 American Legion baseball victory over the Escanaba Cubs.

Gladstone scored the go-ahead run on shortstop Jake Pearson’s single to rightfield in the bottom of the fourth inning. Pearson then scored the last run from first base on Hunter Garling’s double to right.

“Jake’s single was a big hit and Hunter is swinging a good bat,” said Gladstone manager Jim Groleau. “We had good swings on the ball all night long. We’re starting to get some timely hits. I think we gained a little confidence last night (in a 14-0 victory over Ishpeming) and it carried over into tonight. This was a great game to be part of. This is how Legion baseball should be played.”

Esky second-baseman Nick Vandermissen tied the contest on a wild pitch in the top of the fourth.

“We had hoped we’d gain a little momentum after tying the game,” said Esky manager Tom Ohman. “But their hitters found the holes. This was a well played game by both teams. We’re proud of the way our guys competed. They played as hard as they could.”

Gladstone (18-12-1) opened the scoring in the third on Garling’s single to right.

Christian Tackman and Justin Jurek combined on a two-hitter.

Tackman, who pitched six innings, took the win. He struck out three, walked three and allowed both hits. Jurek then retired the Cubs (4-10) in order in the seventh.

“Christian had been struggling with the command of his pitches,” said Groleau. “But he worked hard in practice and really stepped up tonight, and Justin did a nice job in relief.”

Ben Kleiman went the distance and absorbed the loss. He fanned three, walked one and surrendered nine hits.

“Ben threw a good game,” said Ohman. “We just didn’t get any hits to help him out. At the present time, they’re probably a better hitting team than we are.”

Tyler Scufka was robbed of a leadoff single in the third when Garling fired the ball from deep right to first-baseman Hayden Hardwick, retiring Esky’s leftfielder on a close play.

“We thought if we could get Tyler on, that maybe we could get something going,” said Ohman. “But their rightfielder made a great play.”

Frazer and Garling had two hits apiece for the Indians, who host Hancock in a doubleheader Sunday at 1 p.m.

Neither team committed an error and both turned a double play.

The Cubs head north to face Marquette Blue in a single game Friday at 6.