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Wednesday May 22, 2024
Gladstone Wins Regional Title; Collapse In Quarters

Click the thumbnails for photos and videos, and to hear comments from Aedan Creten, Tyler Darmogray, and Coach Joe Darmogray. Also click to listen to the radio call of the Braves' big sixth inning comeback in the quarterfinal game.

The emotions swung from one extreme to the other in a matter of minutes Saturday for the Gladstone Braves and Standish-Sterling Panthers as the teams played in a state quarterfinal baseball game in Traverse City.


Both teams felt the highs and the lows in a roller coaster of baseball over the final two innings before the SSCHS Panthers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, beating the Braves with three unearned runs in the seventh inning, 5-4.


The Panthers earned a trip to the Final Four at Michigan State University, while the Braves made a long, sad bus ride home thinking only of “what could have been”.

“A lot of little things,” Braves Manager Joe Darmogray said. “We didn't hit the ball real great until the end. I'm still proud of the kids. To win a regional championship still means a lot to me, and it means a lot to the kids. Standish-Sterling is a good ball club. They hit the ball well. I give them 100-percent credit. A couple breaks went their way and a couple breaks didn't go our way. That's the tale of the game, I guess. Couple errors I thought we should've had. We just didn't make a couple of plays.”


Gladstone senior left handed pitcher Brennon Detiege worked his way in and out of trouble all afternoon long, using his curveball and other “junk” pitches to keep the strong-hitting Panthers hitters off-balance.

And Detiege had to deal with multiple defensive errors behind him, and that drove up his pitch count down the stretch.


Detiege gave up an RBI single to Cooper Prout in the top of the third inning, but got a nice 3-4 double play from Aedan Creten to Casey Alworden to end that inning.


Then in the bottom of the fourth, Alworden snuck a single past the second baseman, Creten was hit by a pitch (again), and Detiege hit a ground ball for the second out of the inning. But on the play, the throw was wild, and Alworden scored the tying run.


In the fifth inning, though, Sam Briggs led off with a long home run to center field to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Then in the sixth inning, the Panthers had two men on when Andrew Bartlett was hit by a pitch and Brock Bartlett singled.


Detiege was able to get Briggs to ground out to short to end that inning.


The Panthers pitcher, Cody Bartlett, was relieved by Caleb Emans, and the Braves went to work in the bottom of the sixth inning. Noah Peterson led off with a sharply-hit single, but was erased from the bases on an Alworden grounder.


Then when Creten struck out swinging, there were two outs. That's when Detiege came through with a slicing line drive to right field that landed just fair, and skipped past a diving outfielder. Alworden cruised home with the tying run, and Detiege strolled all the way to third base with a triple. Gladstone kept the momentum when Johnny Soderman smacked an RBI single to right field, giving the Braves a 3-2 lead.


Tyler Darmogray followed with a booming double up the gap, and all of a sudden, Gladstone was ahead, 4-2, and thinking about a trip to the Final Four.


But then came the disastrous seventh inning.


Detiege was down to his final nine pitches on the 105-pitch count limit, so Coach Darmogray chose to go with a fresh arm: sophomore Gavin Frossard. Frossard needed only to get three outs to punch a ticket to MSU, but the defense let him down, big time.


Preston Kahn started the inning with a soft liner that bounced in front of the Braves center fielder for a lead-off single. Then, disaster, as Prout hit a grounder to Peterson at third base. He bobbled the ball twice, then threw poorly. So the Panthers had the tying run on base. Frossard got Brayden Schabel to pop up for the first out.


But SSCHS catcher Ty Yorton, who stopped multiple pitches in the dirt to prevent wild pitches on defense, came through on offense with an RBI double that almost left the ballpark. That scored a run, closing Gladstone's lead to 4-3.


Disaster continued when Carson Koin hit a fly ball to Isaac Ketchum in right field. It surely would have tied the game with a sacrifice fly, but Ketchum misplayed the ball. The run not only scored, but there was no out recorded.


That allowed the Panthers to execute a perfect suicide squeeze by Kansen Wendel, and that's how the go-ahead run scored. A deflated Gladstone side went out 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh, and the Braves' collapse was complete. No trip to MSU.

"Brennon pitched a hell of a game," Coach Darmogray said. "I think that's the best he's thrown all season. And Gaivn, we asked him to come in and throw strikes and that's exactly what he did. We just didn't make the plays."


Earlier in the day, the Braves won a regional championship as Tyler Darmogray and Creten both went into beast mode.

Darmomgray pitched a complete game, using all 108 pitches, in holding on for a 6-4 win over the Benzie Central Huskies. And Creten provided much of the offense, with a two-run single that erased a 2-0 deficit, and a towering two-run homer to right field that gave the Braves a 6-2 lead.


And it was just enough for a Braves win, as the Gladstone defense fell apart again in this game just as it did in the later quarterfinal game.

All together, the Braves made nine errors in the two games. It didn't bite them in the game against Benzie. It did in the game against Standish-Sterling.


Tyler Darmogray was spot-on most of the way, especially in the sixth inning, when he made all three outs himself: the first when he ran down a pop fly in foul territory on the third base side, then an impressive diving stab of a ground ball between the pitchers mound and first base, and then the third out when he picked a runner off of second base.


Gladstone trailed 2-0 until Braden Sundquist smoked a two-run double to center field in the third inning to tie the game. Then after a dropped fly ball in left field, Creten came through with a two-out, two-run single to right field, giving the Braves a 4-2 lead.

Creten later launched a two-run homer to make it 6-2, and the Braves held on from there.


Benzie Central scored its runs in the third inning on a Lane Sanchez base hit, Cael Katt bunt single, RBI ground out by Dominic Lopez, and RBI single by Dan Wallington. The Huskies finished their season with a 22-16 record.


Standish-Sterling improved to 29-14 after also beating Charlevoix earlier in the day to win their regional championship.


Gladstone finishes its season at 20-8, with district and regional championships and a share of the Great Northern Conference championship.

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