HANCOCK - Hancock Post 186 finished up the regular season portion of its schedule over the weekend by nearly sweeping doubleheaders in Escanaba and Menominee, and they start playoff action Thursday.
Hancock swept the Escanaba Junior Cubs on Friday by the scores of 8-4 in the opener and 5-4 in extra innings in the nightcap. Mike Saari picked up the win in the first game and Jari Sague led the offense with 3 hits.
In the second game Kris Turunen picked up the win pitching the final inning in relief as Hancock used 4 different pitchers over the course of the game.
On Saturday Hancock traveled to Menominee and coasted to a win in the first game of the twinbill by a 7-2 count. Luke Paul started and recorded the win with relief help from Trent Keteri and Tyler LaDuron. LaDuron provided the offensive spark with a two-run home run in first inning and Alex VanWagner added four hits.
In the second game Menominee came back from a 5-2 deficit late in the game to edge Hancock 6-5 and spoil a weekend sweep for Post 186. Saari and Sague led the offense with 2 hits apiece and Turunen was tagged with the loss in relief of Zach Hill.
"I thought it was a good weekend of games on the road to prepare us for the state tournament in (Sault Ste. Marie) next week," manager Nels Paul said. "It was dissapointing to squander the late lead in Menominee, but we used nine different pitchers in four games, which is the most I think I have ever thrown, and it gave the entire pitching staff some time on the mound."
Hancock finishes up at 31-9 overall and drew Gladstone in the first game of pool play at 3 p.m. Thursday in the State Zone Tournament at Sault Ste. Marie.
"Gladstone is a very solid and veteran team with a number of college ballplayers. They won the Mid-Pen League regular season title with a 19-1 record, so we have our work cut out for us right from the start," Paul said. "I am confident we will be in the thick of things at the end of pool play if we pitch like we are capable of and play our usually solid defense."
Hancock faces Channing in game two of pool play at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Rudyard and then returns to Sault Ste. Marie to face Kingsford at 6 p.m. to wrap up pool play. The top four teams meet on Saturday in a single-elimination tournament for the Zone championships and a spot in the Class A state tournament in Marquette the following weekend.