The Gladiators make it 13 in a row with convincing wins over Molalla and Estacada
Gladstone High School diamond girls closed in on the Tri-Valley Conference softball title, upending Molalla twice (10-0 in six innings and 10-0 in five innings) and handling Estacada 7-2 in games last week.
Heading into play this week, the Gladiators (19-1, 11-0) were three games up on North Marion (13-7, 8-3) with but four games remaining on the conference season.
In games earlier this week, the fifth-ranked Gladiators were to meet 20th-ranked North Marion and 26th-ranked Madras (9-12, 5-6).
They finish up with a home game with 14th-ranked La Salle (15-7, 7-4) this afternoon, and a contest at 39th-ranked Molalla (2-17, 1-10) on Friday.
Last weeks 7-2 win over Estacada was the 13th win in a row for the Gladiators, whose only loss this spring came on April 1 in a preseason games with Hood River, the No. 2-ranked team in Class 5A. The Gladiators outscored their opponents 154-13 in their first 20 games, with 12 shutouts.
Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier gave Madi Mott a turn in the circle in last weeks game with Estacada. The up-and-coming freshman struck out seven and walked no one, while allowing five hits, one of them a solo home run by Hailey Clark in the top of the sixth.
Seniors Julia Schumaker (2-for-3, double), Megan Kirchem (2-for-3) and Megan Winkle (2-for-3) led a balanced Gladiator offensive attack, each with them with two hits.
Gladstone went up 2-0 with two runs in the bottom of the third, and the Gladiators led the rest of the way. Sophomore Kennedy Coy singled with two down; Schumaker doubled and Kirchem came through with a timely base hit to bring the runs around.
The Gladiators added two more runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth.
We played pretty well, said Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier. Madi wasnt expecting to pitch, but we put her in and she did a very nice job. Estacada put the ball in play and, for the most part, we made the plays.
The Gladiators went with senior ace Megan Kirchem and Mott in the circle in their May 5 doubleheader with Molalla.
Gladstone hammered out 12 hits and played error-free ball behind Kirchem (15 strikeouts, one walk) in the 10-0 six-inning win over the Indians, which was the completion of a suspended game from April 21.
Kirchem allowed only one hit, a single with one down in the bottom of the sixth.
Schumaker (2-for-4, double, 3 runs scored), Kirchem (2-for-4, 2 runs) and sophomore Kat Kerr (2-for-4, 2 RBI) headed the Gladiator effort at the plate.
Kirchem (6 strikeouts, no walks in three innings) and Mott (2 strikeouts, no walks) teamed up to throw a no-hitter in the 10-0 five-inning win over the Indians.
Gladstone committed one error, giving the Indians their only baserunner.
Mott had a hot bat, going 3-for-4, with a three-run home run, a two-run single and a RBI-single, for six RBI. The fourth-inning home run was the first round-tripper of Motts high school career, and it gained the Gladiators a 7-0 advantage on the scoreboard.
Kirchem (3-for-3, 2 runs) and Schumaker (3-for-4, 3-run double) also had big games at the plate, as the Gladiators crushed the ball for 14 hits in five innings of offense.
We played well, said Mortier. We took care of business.