Gladstone powers to state semis

BOYNE CITY – Christina Olson finished a perfect day at the plate Sunday with a clutch single in the seventh inning, lifting the Gladstone Major Girls’ Little League (age 11-12) All-Stars to a 3-2 softball triumph over Taylor in a state quarterfinal contest.

Olson went 4-for-4 and drove in two runs, including Natalie Hansen with the game-winner.

“Christina was on fire today,” said Gladstone manager Rodney Schwartz. “She must have been seeing the ball well. She was jumping on the first or second pitch everytime.”

The victory enabled Gladstone to advance to today’s semifinal against Rogers City.

Taylor, taking advantage of an error and wild pitch, gained a 2-0 lead in the second.

Gladstone pulled within a run on Olson’s single in the third and tied the contest on Hansen’s single in the fifth.

Hansen finished with two hits, including a double along the leftfield line in the seventh

Brittany Schwartz, who took the win, struck out eight, walked none, hit a batter and allowed eight hits.

“Brittany pitched a real good game,” said manager Schwartz. “She was hitting the outside low corner, which seemed to keep them off balance.”

Taylor’s Kaily Nissen was 3-for-3 and Teara Brown had two hits.

Nissen, who absorbed the loss, fanned nine, walked two and gave up seven hits.

“She (Nissen) mixed her pitches well,” said manager Schwartz. “She kind of kept us off balance.”

On Saturday, Brittany Schwartz fired a one-hitter, whiffed eight and walked three in Gladstone’s 11-0 rout of Rochester Hills in five innings.

“Brittany pitched good all weekend,” said manager Schwartz. “Her change-up worked a little better on Saturday. She had them off balance.”

Gladstone’s Grace DeLaire had two hits and drove in two runs. Sydney Herioux and Taylor Trudeau also had two hits each.

“This pool wasn’t as strong as some of the others,” said manager Schwartz. “We had a hard time hitting some of the slower pitching. This was probably the poorest game we played.”

Gladstone scored three times in each of the first two frames, once in the third and two runs apiece in the fourth and fifth.

“Rogers City (today’s opponent) can really put the bat on the ball. We need to shore up our defense a little, but I’m confident the girls can get it done. We’ll pretty much have to play our best game to beat them.”