Jun. 10—MAPLE CITY — One less walk and Ryan Flores was perfect.
Glen Lake mercied Ellsworth in a 10-0 win in five innings as Ryan Flores struck out 10-of-16 batters he pitched against, completing the game with no hits and one walk.
Ellsworth's Jacob Jenuwine worked Flores into a 3-2 count and eventually a walk and stole second base. He was picked off for the last out of the second inning.
Flores said the Lakers were told going into this week to not look past anyone. He said the team's philosophy has always been to pitch well, get ground balls and allow the defense play behind him.
"I have a good group of guys behind me that saved me on a couple of pop flies out in the outfield," Flores said. "I feel pretty good, especially with my fastball, which is what I relied on heavily today. So I felt confident going into it."
Connor Ciolek was hit by a pitch on a 0-2 count to reach base with the first at-bat, and he scored off an RBI from Mateo Gokey. Flores, Gokey each scored runs that inning and the Lakers led 3-0 after one.
Glen Lake put up two more runs in the third inning and four in the fourth to force a mercy. Ellsworth tallied six fielding errors. The Lakers scored all 10 runs with seven hits as a team, four of which were earned runs.
Lakers coach Kris Herman said anytime the team can advance, it feels good.
"I have a lot of respect for those guys and their coaches," Herman said.
The Lakers (25-7) now meet Rudyard for the Division 4 regional final Saturday in Pellston. Rudyard topped Pellston 6-4.
Gaylord St. Mary and Norway play in the regional final on the other side of that bracket. The two regional champs meet in quarterfinals later that afternoon at the same location.
Glen Lake finished No. 8 in the last Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association poll.
"Rudyard has a really good program traditionally, so you have to respect them anytime you see them," Herman said. "You have to remember every everybody you're playing from here on out is already a champion in some way. They've already won something. So everybody's earned their way to this point."
For the Lancers, Kelan Pletcher, Jenuwine, Braden Steenwyk and Ryder Roberts each hit the ball hard on line drives, but were snagged each time.
Though the game was shortened by mercy rule, the Lancers didn't leave town early. Coaches hosted a rib eye barbeque in the parking lot of Glen Lake before a 62-mile trip back home with temps inching into the mid-80s.
The Lancers won their district for the first time since 2002 — and it likely won't be their last.
"I think we have a good chance at doing four in a row," said Ellsworth's first-year coach Joe Cooper. "We're still pretty deep, we're pretty young."
Twelve of 14 on Ellsworth's roster return next year. Seniors Jaeger Griswold and Evan Carey graduate. The team's only junior, Braden Steenwyk, returns after also guiding Ellsworth's basketball team to its first regional since 2009. The rest of the team is underclassmen and includes two eighth graders.
Griswold said the team has grown together, especially because many play the same sports in other seasons. The Ellsworth valedictorian plans to attend Vanderbilt next fall.
"We always like to keep the hype up," Griswold said. "And as long as the energy is going and we're smiling and having fun, and that's what playing sports is."
Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR