Gladstone prevails to claim title

IRON MOUNTAIN – Norway forced the Little League 10-11 year old District 10 final into a doubleheader Tuesday evening at Larry Barkle Eastside Field, but Gladstone prevailed in the nightcap 9-2 to take home the title.

Norway’s all-stars took the first game 6-1.

The winner-take-all final went scoreless for two innings before Gladstone broke through with a two-out rally in the top of the third, plating all the runs it would need for the win.

A dropped third strike initially continued the inning to bring up Caden Alwieden. He dragged a bunt down the first base line, but Norway couldn’t convert the out at first, allowing the game’s first run to score. A wild pitch brought in another run in before Justin Malmstead belted a two-run double off the fence in center.

Norway answered with two runs in the bottom of the third. Hunter McCarthy brought home one run with a shot that was too much for Gladstone’s first baseman to handle. Noah Gorzinski later added the second run with a nifty delayed steal of home. He cheated off the bag after the pitch, and when Gladstone’s catcher threw back to the mound, Gorzinski broke for the plate and slid in safe.

But Norway’s offense stalled from there.

A mishandled chopper to shortstop off the bat of Cole Hansen scored two more Gladstone runs in the fourth. In the fifth, Riley Baldovski and Drake Forest each knocked in a run with a single.

Hansen scored Gladstone’s final run with a triple to right center fence in the sixth. An overthrow to the third-base dugout allowed him to trot home.

Malmstead picked up the win, throwing five complete before hitting his pitch limit. He allowed just one hit while striking out nine. Alwieden shut down Norway in the sixth.

Jesse Julian started for Norway, pitching into the fourth. He gave up just four hits while whiffing five and walking just one before being lifted, despite being on the losing end. Parker Lasater also pitched for Norway.

It was Norway taking advantage of fielding gaffes in the first contest, chalking up three runs after two were out in the second inning. Jackson Witt scored when Kody Hendricks’ tapper back toward the pitcher was misplayed. Zach Buck scored on a wild pitch, and Hunter McCarty drove in another with a RBI single.

McCarty added two more doubles and three more RBIs to fuel Norway’s offense. Julian also had two hits in the game.

Gladstone’s lone run came in the third. A bad hop of a grounder on the right side allowed Malmstead to get home. Malmstead had reached on a error to start the inning.

Gorzinski worked a gem for Norway on the mound. He went the distance, surrendering just two hits while striking out five and walking one.

Zach Hanson and Forest pitched for Gladstone in the opener.

Gladstone will host a best-of-three sectional against the District 11 champion beginning with a doubleheader Saturday at a time to be announced.