EAST LANSING – The Gladstone Braves softball team is one win away from winning a state championship, after they defeated Coloma, 5-4 in eight innings on Friday in the Division 3 state semifinals.
Gladstone scored the first run of the game. Sadie Strasser was able to maneuver herself out of a pickle between third base and home plate. Strasser avoided the tag at home to put the Braves up 1-0.
The Braves offense came alive in the fourth inning. Lexi Hongisto led off the top of the 4th with a triple. Jessica Beaudry then hit a 2-run home run to left center field to give Gladstone a 3-0 lead.
The girls from the Upper Peninsula took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the 7th inning. With two outs, Coloma hit back-to-back home runs, which tied the game at 4.
Gladstone took the lead once again in the top half of the 8th inning. With Tinner Sharon on first base, Strasser laid down a bunt towards the right side of the infield. That enabled Sharon to advance to second base. Seeing no one standing near third base, Sharon took off for third. The throw to third got away from the Coloma left fielder. Sharon just beat the throw home to score, which gave the Braves a 5-4 lead.
Sharon then finished off the game on the mound in the bottom of the eighth. With a runner on first, Sharon caught a pop fly in the infield then flipped the ball to first for the game-ending, double play. Sharon pitch all eight innings for the Braves. She gave up four runs on seven hits while striking out seven.
Gladstone will face Unionville-Sebewaing in the Division 3 State Championship game on Saturday at 3pm. Unionville-Sebewaing defeated Gladstone last season in the quarterfinals, 7-0.
You can view the box score from the Gladstone vs. Coloma game here.