Gladstone is 6-2 in league, after a 2-8 start to the season

After a rough start, in which they lost eight of their first 10 games, Gladstone’s Junior State Division I baseball team has begun to turn things around.

Through play June 25, they sported a 6-2 record in league (7-9 overall), and they’d won four of their last five games, defeating Molalla 12-6, Horizon Christian 14-5, Milwaukie 2-1 and Hood River 10-9.

The June 24 game with Milwaukie was a dogfight, with Gladstone scoring a single tally in the top of the 11th to win it.

With two down in the 11th, junior Trask Telesmanich got things started with a base hit. Senior Chris Toh (2-for-5) singled, and junior Austin Krieger (2-for-3) drove a base hit to right field to win it.

The contest was a pitchers’ duel. Milwaukie sophomore Matthew Compton fanned 11, walked no one and scattered five hits in nine innings of work.

Krieger pitched the first seven frames for Gladstone, striking out five, walking two and allowing three hits. Telesmanich made it three-up and three-down with three strikeouts in the eighth; and senior A.J. Swalko was tough in the ninth through 11th, striking out four and walking one, while allowing no hits.

There was plenty of excitement in the seventh. Gladstone scored the game’s first run in the top of the seventh. Toh reached on an error, advanced on a sacrifice by Krieger, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a base hit to left by senior Mitchell Foeller.

Milwaukie got the run back in the bottom of the seventh, scoring when Compton reached on an error, stole second and scored on a double by Anderson. The Mustangs then loaded the bases, and Toh saved the day when he fielded a ball in short left field and fired home in time for the final out of the inning.

The June 25 10-9 win at Hood River was another barnburner. Gladstone scored unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh to pull out the win.

Ben Fox walked to lead off the sixth, stole second, advanced on an infield single by Toh and scored on a ground ball to shortstop by Krieger.

Hero honors went to Swalko in the seventh. Sophomore Trey DePretto singled to lead off the inning, stole second, and scored the game-winner with one down on Swalko’s single to right.

Swalko was also tough on the mound, facing just nine batters and holding the Eagles scoreless in 2-2/3 innings of relief pitching. He picked a runner off base in the fifth inning and made it three-up and three-down in the sixth and seventh.

“I was pretty pleased with our effort,” said Gladstone coach Casey Webster. “We had a little pitching drama, but A.J. came in and did a good job.”

Swalko (2-for-5), Toh (2-for-4), Telesmanich (3 RBI) and Krieger (3 RBI) headed the Gladiator offense in a nine-hit attack.

“All in all, I’m pretty happy,” Webster said. “We’ve got a good group of kids. They’re responding and they’re playing hard.”

In upcoming games, the Gladiators play at Sandy Friday at 5 p.m., at North Marion Saturday at 1 p.m.; they host Molalla at 7 p.m. July 8, Putnam at 7 p.m. July 9 and Estacada at 7 p.m. July 10.

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