Double play reverses Norway’s fortunes in loss at Yooper Tourney

ESCANABA – A key defensive play fueled Gladstone 9- and 10-year-old boys all-star baseball team on Monday, rallying past Norway 9-4 in the championship game during the 23rd Annual Karl Dickson Memorial tournament.

Norway held a 4-2 lead with two on with one out in the third inning when Alec Haferkorn tried to bunt his way on base. Gladstone pitcher Nathan Young fielded the bunt near the third-base line and tossed the ball to first baseman Tucker Carlson for the second out. Norway’s Blake Holmes then attempted to score from third, but was then thrown out at the plate and end the inning.

“The double play and Tucker’s triple gave us a lot of momentum,” said Gladstone manager Erick Hansen. “Our defense cost us a few runs early, but it really came through in the end.”

Gladstone responded with four runs in the following half-inning. Tyler Darmogray trimmed its deficit to 4-3 on a passed ball. The tourney champs then tied the contest on Young’s infield single and took a 5-4 lead on Tucker Carlson’s triple along the left-field line.

Moments later, Gladstone extended its lead to 6-4 on John Soderman’s suicide squeeze bunt.

Gladstone turned another double play in the fourth when Norway’s Alex Ortman flew out to leftfielder Jon Weinert, who then threw out Tanner Finley with a perfect throw to the plate.

Ian Popp then started Norway’s fifth with an infield single. Ryan Erickson flew out to rightfieder Casey Alworden moments later and Young struck out the final two hitters before reaching his pitch count limit.

Gladstone finished the scoring in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run single to right by Drew Hansen.

Young worked five innings for the win. He fanned seven, walked three, hit a batter and allowed four hits. Darmogray, who relieved in the sixth whiffed two, walked two and gave up a hit.

Three of Young’s strikeouts took place in the first after Erickson’s two-run single to right-center gave Norway the early lead.

“I was a little nervous at first, then I settled down after a couple innings,” said Young, who went 3-for-3. “We just needed to get the bats going. We were struggling at the plate, but their pitcher was throwing strikes and we got used to his speed. We felt we could win after we took the lead.”

Gladstone finished with seven hits, including a pair by Darmogray. Ortman had two of Norway’s five hits.

Ortman, who pitched 3 1/3 innings, absorbed the loss. He struck out three, walked two and surrendered seven runs on five hits.

Norway committed four errors and standed seven baserunners, including three in the sixth. Gladstone had two miscues.

“We made some plays early, then we made some mistakes here the there which hurt us,” said Norway manager Brett Baij. “Gladstone is very solid. They made more plays than we did, which was the difference in the game. We still have a fighting chance (in the District 10 tournament). We can go back to practice and fix a few things. We’ll learn from this.”

Both teams begin area tournament play July 6, with Gladstone hosting Tri-County and Norway facing Iron Mountain at East Barkle Field.