ALMA – The Thunder got the week off to a good start last Tuesday when they traveled to Reese and came away with a pair of wins, 10-6 and 10-5, over the Saginaw Sugar Beets. Gladwin used five different pitchers in the game with Drew Grove getting the start and win. Grove surrendered two hits in his one and a third shutout innings. Carson Oldani, Owen Franklin, John Cogswell and Chase Raymond also saw time on the mound.
Gladwin jumped out to a big early lead scoring four runs in the first inning and three in the third. They held a 9-0 lead before the Sugar Beets got on the board. A one out double off of the bat of Jarrett Inscho drove in the first two runs of the game. Ethan Shea singled with the bases loaded later in the inning driving in two more runs. Grove led off the second inning with a walk and stole second base. He later scored on a single by Colin Sackrider. The next batter, Hunter Merillat hit his fourth homerun of the year making the score 7-0. The Thunder would eventually win 10-5.
The Thunder used five pitchers once again in the nightcap. Inscho entered the game in the bottom of the third with the score tied 2-2. Gladwin scored four runs in the top of the fourth for a lead they did not relinquish making Inscho the winner. Merillat picked up homeruns number five and six on the season when he homered in the fourth and fifth innings. Trent Reed, Isaac Morrison, Franklin and Inscho doubled in the game.
The Thunder played in the No Doubt CMU Showcase over weekend going 2-2 in the tournament. Gladwin fell behind 8-1 in game one against the Shelby Chiefs before battling back with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and one in the bottom of the seventh to make it close. The Thunder out hit the Chiefs picking up 11 in the game. Morrison had 3 hits in 4 at bats while Merillat, Shea and Reed each had two hits. Morrison and Reed also had two RBIs apiece.
Inscho held the Detroit Diamond Jaxx to two hits in a 6-0 win on Friday afternoon. He struck out two and walked two in the complete game shutout. The game was tight early with the Thunder holding a 1-0 lead through four innings before scoring five runs over the last three innings. Dane Smitz had a hit and two RBIs in the game. Reed Raymond and Merillat each had two hits.
Gladwin got another good pitching performance Saturday morning in their game with Mt. Pleasant. Merillat allowed two hits and no earned runs in an eight inning 2-1 loss to Mt. Pleasant. He also struck out 13 in the game. Josh Schell was also sharp for Mt. Pleasant striking out 13 while giving up one run. The Thunder had a chance to break the game open in the bottom of the fifth when they loaded the bases with two outs, but a fly ball to left field got Schell got out of the jam.
The Thunder needed a victory in the second game on Saturday to have any chance of advancing beyond pool play. A six run third inning broke a scoreless tie and put Gladwin in good position to move on. Six straight batters reached base all of whom eventually scored. A bases loaded double by Franklin was the big hit of the inning. The Thunder scored three more runs in the fourth and two in the fifth for an 11-2 win. Inscho had two of Gladwin’s six hits. Four walks and six hit batters proved to be crucial to the Thunder offense.
With the win Gladwin found itself in a three-way tie for second in Pool B requiring the use of the tie breaker system to determine which team would advance. Gladwin held the advantage and would have advanced if bad weather hadn’t intervened. They were scheduled to play Pool A winner, the Stampede, but heavy rains washed out Sundays games.
“We played well in three of the four games. We had some very good pitching performances this week,” said Coach Terry Brokoff. “We faced some very good pitching over the weekend,” continued Brokoff. “We just need to be better at the plate in certain situations. We left too many runners in scoring position.”
Gladwin is currently 19-4 on the season heading into the weekend. They play in a 30-team tournament in the Bay City area starting on Thursday at 9 a.m. at Essexville Garber High School against Michigan Brewers Select. Game two is against the 131s from the Traverse City area also at Garber at 11:15 a.m. Friday they play at the Bay City Western junior varsity field in Auburn at 11:15 a.m. against Michigan Premier.