Ready for a rematch

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone Major girls made as short work of Kingsford as they did with Iron Mountain and Norway. The Gladstone All-Stars finished their conquest of Dickinson County by beating Kingsford 15-0, Tuesday in the Major Little League district tournament at Howes Field in Gladstone.

With the victory, Gladstone advances to face Escanaba in the title game, tonight at 5 p.m. A second game, if necessary, will be played at 7.

Gladstone, as it has the last few games, got out to a fast start, scoring five runs in the first inning. Kingsford starting pitcher Brooke Kriegl walked the first three batters but two runs scored due to passed balls before the third walk was issued. Brittany Schwartz then hit an RBI single and Morgan Letteriero ripped an RBI triple and Taylor Trudeau capped the scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Letteriero.

Three more runs in the second inning, gave Gladstone an 8-0 lead.

On the mound, Schwartz limited the Kingsford bats to just one hit, which they got in the second inning when Maggie Strehlow hit a single on a full count. Strehlow advanced to second on a flyout from Kate Cook, but that was as far as a Kingsford runner got. Schwartz struck out nine and walked none.

Gladstone tacked on one more run in the third to lead 9-0 and while the game did end prematurely, the Kingsford fielders were able to hold Gladstone off until the fifth. In that inning, Gladstone tacked on six more runs, all with two outs, mostly on passed balls as things began to unravel.

Sydney Herioux was Gladstone’s leader at the plate, with three hits, including a double, two RBIs and walk. On the basepaths, she advanced to second and third without the benefit of a hit each time up.

“The kids ran the bases well tonight,” said manager Rodney Schwartz. “We did have a couple mistakes. One where it was a questionable leaving early, and one that was a questionable turning into the field.”

Nine of 12 Gladstone girls that came up to bat, got a hit during the game, and 11 of 12 reached base. Gladstone totaled 14 hits and only struck out twice.

Over the last three games, the Gladstone girls outscored their opponents 53-2. That’s the kind of confidence manager Schwartz was looking to instill in his team going into a rematch with Escanaba.

“We’re hitting the ball now. We’re going to practice and get back to the level of speed that we’ll see against Esky. We have to beat them twice, but we’ve been preaching to the kids, one pitch at a time,” he said.

“Once we got those first game jitters out of the way, we started getting more comfortable.”