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Thursday January 28, 2021
HANGING ON: Gladstone Survives Escanaba Rally

GLADSTONE---The Gladstone Indians built a 7-0 lead Tuesday night and held on for a 7-6 win over the Escanaba Cubs in a U-19 Upper Peninsula baseball game in Gladstone.

Escanaba won the junior contest, 13-4.

The senior Indians won their fifth straight game, and second straight over the Cubs, following last Thursday's 7-1 win in Escanaba. The Cubs lost for the second time in 24 hours, having also lost in Iron Mountain Monday night. But they didn't go without some drama at the end.

The Cubs were handcuffed by Indians starting pitcher Zach Hanson for most of the night.

Hanson retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced, at one point, striking out seven straight batters, using a wicked curveball that changed speeds.

On the other side, Cubs starter Riley Lamb did not survive the first inning, walking three guys in the first inning and allowing a bunt single. 

Gladstone cashed in for a 3-0 lead and rode Hanson's pitching into the middle innings.Brett Schlenvogt came on for Lamb in that first inning and pitched pretty well in 4 2/3 innings of middle relief, but he eventually tired and started walking people as well.

The Indians took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning when Drake Forrest led off with a double and scored when he tagged up on a fly ball to right field and the throw to third base got away.

Then Gladstone scored three more in the fifth inning as Dan Martin led off with a solo home run, followed by a bunch of walks and a pair of hit battsmen.

Trailing 7-0, Escanaba brought in Nick Kolich to pitch for the first time with the bases loaded.

He got Caden Alworden to pop up on the first pitch, preventing Gladstone from adding to the lead and possibly ending the game on the ten-run rule in that fifth inning.

As it turned out, the game was far from over as Hanson started to tire in the sixth inning. Collin Arnt and Grant LaMarche both got base hits and Hanson walked Hunter Lancour in the inning.
The Cubs runs scored when Lamb hit a grounder to third with the bases loaded and the throw to first base was poor.

Hanson left after six innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits, seven strike outs, and two walks. Alworden came on in relief, but it was a rocky seventh inning.

Alworden walked Kolich to start the inning, then with one out, Schlenvogt followed with a single then Tyler Lawson singled home a run.

A walk to Arnt kept things going, then the Indians made four errors, including two on one play, and all of a sudden, the Cubs were within 7-6, with runners at first and third, and veteran Jake Anderson at the plate.

Anderson chased the first pitch, and popped it up ending the ballgame,

The Indians improved to 5-2 on the season while the Cubs slipped to 5-4.

REMEMBERING CRAZY EIGHT---Before the game, there was an emotional ceremony to remember former Indians center fielder Christian Groleau, who died Jan. 28. He was known as "Crazy Eight" for his No. 8 jersey and his happy-go-lucky attitude.

Groleau was also a tough-as-nails left-handed pitcher and was a part of the first of Gladstone's run of state chamnpionships in 2014.

Don Olsen Field public address announcer Jodi Westerberg read a stirring speech, written by former teammate and current Indians Manager Justin Jurek, as the both teams stood, heads bowed, on their respective foul lines.

Groleau's father, former Indians Manager Jim Groleau, his wife Char, and the current Indians coaches stood during a moment of silence, and then exchanged emotional hugs on the field.

Then, the game began with only eight Indians players on the field, with two of them (Ian Schwalbach and Blake Krouth) holding Groleau's Number Eight jersey in the outfield.

Cubs pitcher Riley Lamb threw an inside fastball, and then the game was stopped as Groleau's jersey was brought back to the dugout and the ball was thrown out of play to be given to Groleau's family. The plan is to plant a tree at the field to remember Groleau later this month.

JUNIOR GAME: ESCANABA 13, GLADSTONE 4---The Junior Cubs took advantage of six Gladstone errors to build a 11-0 lead, but Gladstone rallied for two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to twice avoid being mercied. The J-Cubs beat their rivals for the second straight game, after also winning last Thursday's contest, 10-4, in Escanaba.

Bryce Blixt and Jack McEvers both got hits in the first inning as the J-Cubs scored two unearned runs to go up 2-0. They scored three more in the second inning on walks and errors, and Trent Lawson's RBI single made it 6-0 in the third inning.

The J-Cubs scored five more runs in the fourth inning on another batch of walks and a gap shot by Adam Willette.

But in the fifth inning, Gladstone kept the game alive with two runs off hits by Casey Alworden and Nick Martin.

Escanaba went up 13-2 in the sixth inning on a two-run double to the fence by Matt Zimmerman, but Gladstone kept the game alive again in the bottom of the sixth as Alworden got his third hit of the game and Tyler Darmogray also contributed a hit.

One painful moment came in the fifth inning when Zommerman hit a pop up in foul ground that Gladstone pitcher Gavin Frossard chased after. Martin, who was catching, and first baseman Aedan Creten also chased it, with Creten streaking out of nowhere to catch the ball. He collided, though, into Martin's ctacher's gear, and suffered a rib injury.

Creten caught the ball, however.

MENOMINEE SWEEPS BUCS---Bark River lost a heartbreaker in the bottom of the sixth inning to Menominee, 3-2, in the second game of a doubleheader at Menominee's Spies Field. Nick Javurek pitched a complete game, carrying a 2-1 lead into the final inning, when two unearned runs led to the Red Wave win. Hunter Goldschmidt had the walkoff hit.

Menominee also won the opener, 4-0, despite a strong outing on the mound from the Bucs' Adrian Mercier. Dante Sartorelli pitched the whole way for the Menominee shutout.

Bark River fell to 4-8 on the season while Menominee improved to 15-2. Bark River takes on Iron Mountain Wednesday in Bark River, with the 5:00 game set to be broadcast on NewsTalk 600 and www.rrnsports.com.

Click the thumbnails in the ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS box above to see photos taken by Ginny Krouth, photos and videos (including that painful popup), and to see Hanson's post-game interview. Also click to hear the pre-game ceremony honoring Groleau and Hanson's comments.

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