One win away; tough wins over ECC rivals put Gilman on the verge of a state tournament trip

Gilman’s Montana Birkenholz gets a force-out at second base of Greenwood’s Emma Schlough and,  unsuccessfully, tries to complete a double play in top of the fifth inning of Thursday’s dramatic 1-0, 10-inning win over the Indians in a WIAA Division 5 regional final. Photo by Dean Lesar/Tribune Record GleanerGilman’s Jaiden Sedivy takes her lead from third base in bottom of the seventh inning of Thursday’s WIAA Division 5 regional final, hoping to be the winning run. She led off the inning with a single, moved to second on Addy Warner’s single, and went to third on MyKell Podolak’s sacrifice bunt. But a strikeout and a groundout left the runners stranded. The Pirates went on to win 1-0 in 10 innings. Photo by Dean Lesar/Tribune Record GleanerGilman's Montana Birkenholz tags Greenwood's Laikyn Johnson in top of ninth inning and turns a double play, helping keep the game scoreless. Johnson had led off the inning with a single. Photo by Dean Lesar/Tribune Record Gleaner

Winning the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference championship once apparently wasn’t enough for the Gilman Pirates, who had to knock off two of the league’s top teams one more time to advance to today’s WIAA Division 5 sectional championship game.
On Tuesday, the second-seeded Pirates trailed the fourth-seeded Loyal Greyhounds most of the way before finally taking the lead with a three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth and hanging on for a 9-7 sectional semifinal win. Tuesday’s win followed a 1-0 heart-stopper in Thursday’s regional final with Greenwood that took 10 innings to win.
With those hurdles cleared, the only one left that stands between Gilman and the program’s first state trip since 2006 is the Hurley Midgets, who the Pirates beat 9-3 back on May 11. First pitch for the sectional final, today, Thursday is 5 p.m. in Gilman.
“I’m proud of them,” Gilman head coach Brian Phelps said of Tuesday’s win. “They were behind the whole game, but they battled.”
For the full story, pick up a copy of this week’s issue of The Star News.

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