Braves storm to Tawas title

TAWAS, Mich – The Gladstone softball team trailed in each of its three games in the Tawas Invitational, but each time, the Braves found a way to rally, eventually defeating New Boston Huron in the championship game on Saturday, 10-3.

“It’s great for the girls to see new competition because it really tests where they are and if they can bounce back,” Gladstone head coach Ashley Hughes said. “The girls did a great job. They communicated well and that showed in their ability to come back and add some more runs to the scoreboard.”

In the first game against Birch Run, Gladstone trailed 1-0 up until the fourth inning, when the Braves were able to put up for runs, eventually winning, 5-2.

Makalya Depuydt was the winning pitcher for Gladstone. She pitched the complete game, and surrendered two runs on five hits and one walk, while managing to strike out five batters.

Lexi Hongisto went 3-for-3 from the plate. Pasi Martinez and Lauren Parrett each added RBI singles, and Anna Caramella chipped in with two hits and two RBI’s.

The win allowed Gladstone to move on and face Frankenmuth, where the Braves would do something that they hadn’t previously done, all year.

Trailing 4-2 in the fourth inning, with two outs, Hongisto stepped to the plate for Gladstone. She launched a hit to right center field, which was eventually an in-the-park grand slam, the first grand slam of the year for Gladstone.

“It was a huge field,” Hughes said. “They hadn’t put up any temporary fences. She just roped a ball to right center, and there was just no way they were going to get the ball in on time. She just cleared the bases.”

Hongisto’s slam would be the last runs of the game, preserving a 6-4 Gladstone victory.

Christine Sharon, who started the game off with a home run, pitched the first three innings for Gladstone and allowed four runs on six hits and three strikeouts. Depuydt came in for relief and pitched the last three innings, allowing no runs, three walks, one hit, and struck out one batter.

The game was on a time limit, so the teams were only able to complete six innings.

The championship game would be cut short of the normal seven innings, too. This time, it would be the seven-run mercy rule in effect, as Gladstone defeated New Boston Huron, 10-3.

In the first inning, New Boston Huron managed to score the first run of the game. But from then on out, it would be all Gladstone. The Braves would score one in the second inning, three in the third inning, and two in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, to complete the tournament.

Sharon earned the victory on the mound after allowing three runs on four hits and three walks. She struck out six batters over the six innings.

Sharon also went 3-for-3 from the plate, and Hongisto added a two-run walk-off home run in the sixth inning.

“We kind of tested out our lineup a little bit,” Hughes said. “We had a few injuries in the week, so we tried our best to get our best players out there with keeping their safety in mind. The people that did go in, stepped up. The girls did a good job bouncing back and they just kept at it.”

Bridget Becker was dealing with an ankle injury that she suffered against Kingsford on Thursday and Jessica Beaudry played first base, but did not hit, as Hughes tried to manage her health.

Gladstone will next be in action on Tuesday, when they will host Escanaba.