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      Gladstone baseball falls in state semifinals

      Decaturâ??s Cody Huston ended the Gladstone Bravesâ?? dream of a Division 3 state title appearance.

      The pitcherâ??s walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning ensured the Raiderâ??s 2-1 victory in eight innings over Gladstone, as they advanced to the state finals.

      Huston also held the Gladstone (29-5) batters to just one run.

      â??It was a real good game,â?? Braves assistant coach, Kurt Lauscher, said. â??Itâ??s tough to win games when you only get one hit. We struggled at the plate a little bit, but you got to give [Decatur] credit too. They stayed in it, and they just got one more play than we did.â??

      The Raiders struck first in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Joby Kawaskiâ??s double drove home Carter Smith for the gameâ??s first run.

      From there, Braves senior Christian Groleau stole second base, then advanced to third off a throwing error in the top of the seventh inning. Pitcher Sam Pouliot grounded out on a fielderâ??s choice, scoring Groleau, to tie the game at 1-1.

      But it was that one additional hit by Huston in extra innings that was enough.

      Pouliot started on the mound for the Braves, allowing two runs, while striking out nine.

      â??Iâ??m really proud of our team,â?? Pouliot said. â??Thereâ??s really nothing you can do. Iâ??m just blessed that we got down here, and Iâ??m just so proud of my team. I wouldnâ??t change my team for anybody.â??

      In the programâ??s second season, Don Lauscherâ??s team reached the state semifinals.

      The Braves will lose four seniors to graduation: Pouliot, Groleau, Christian Tackman, and Tommy Bailey.

      Meanwhile, Decatur plays defending champion Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett for the state championship.