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Tri-Valley baseball ends in a four-team logjam

Tri-Valley Conference baseball ended up a four-team tie for the conference championship, with Gladstone (17-8), La Salle (15-7), Estacada (14-11) and North Marion (20-6) all finishing up with 10-5 records in league.

Based on the TVC tiebreaking formula, North Marion, Estacada, Gladstone and La Salle will be seeded first through fourth respectively in postseason play.

All four teams advance to postseason play because of their high placement in the OSAA RPI rankings. Heading in the postseason, North Marion, Gladstone, La Salle and Estacada were ranked fourth, sixth, seventh and 16th respectively out of the 43 Class 4A programs.

Gladstone and Estacada showed up big-time in last week’s league games to bring about the four-way tie for first place.

Gladstone won all three of its must-win games, defeating North Marion 4-0, La Salle 10-5 and Molalla 5-1.

Estacada dropped Madras 12-2, Molalla 4-2 and La Salle 1-0, and the Rangers gave North Marion a run for its money in an 8-4 loss.

“I’m happy with the way these kids have performed in our last four games,” said Gladstone coach Casey Webster. “After we lost to Estacada (4-0 on May 7), we told the kids it was a four-game season. They had to win all four of our remaining league games to keep our season going. Now they’re league champs, and I couldn’t be prouder. It’s been fun to watch. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Last week’s wins over North Marion and La Salle did not come easily.

Gladstone scored all four of its runs in the sixth inning of the 4-0 win over the Huskies.

In the sixth, junior Ben Fox followed up a single by senior Mitchell Foeller with a double to bring the winning run across. Senior A.J. Swalko followed with a drag-bunt single; Trask Telesmanich drew a walk; and senior Chris Toh forced in a second run when he reached on a fielder’s choice. Junior Austin Krieger kept the rally going with a run-scoring safety squeeze, and sophomore Andrew Gross (2-for-3) capped things off with a run-scoring single.

Telesmanich was sharp on the mound for Gladstone, striking out eight and walking two in a 2-hitter.

“Trask was dialed in,” said Webster. “He had all of his pitches working.”

Webster said that Telesmanich only threw 88 pitches in the seven-inning game. His teammates played error-free defense behind him.

Trailing 5-1 through the first four innings, the Gladiators had to rally from behind to beat their cross-town rivals. They scored two unanswered runs in the fifth frame, two more in the sixth, and five in the top of the seventh.

“We’ve been talking with the guys about playing seven complete innings and they did just that [in the La Salle game],” Webster said. “We got behind, but they battled, and kept chipping away.”

Telesmanich and Toh were big in the sixth inning. Fox and Swalko led off the inning with base hits and Fox scored on a double by Telesmanich. Toh followed with a run-scoring groundout, and it was a 5-5 ball game.

The Gladiators scored all five of the runs in the seventh inning after there were two outs.

Collin Betnar got things started in the seventh with a base hit. Swalko singled, and Telesmanich singled to bring the winning run around.

Toh reached as a hit batsman and Krieger walked to force in a run. Gross rapped a two-run single. Sophomore Trey DePretto got hit by a pitch, and Foeller drew a run-scoring walk to round out the rally.

Each team had 12 hits. Swalko (3-for-5, 3 runs), Telesmanich (3-for-4, 2 doubles, 2 runs, 2 RBI), Gross (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Toh (triple and 2 RBI) led the attack for Gladstone.

Kelly Krumm (2-for-4, home run) and Dane Maben (3-for-4) led La Salle at the plate.

Krieger, Swalko and senior Cody Swenson all took a turn on the mound for Gladstone. Swenson and Swalko allowed just four hits in five innings of relief. Swalko made it 3-up and 3-down in the seventh, when he sent two batters down swinging.

Telesmanich (8 strikeouts, 2 walks, 6 hits, one earned run) pitched shutout ball through the first six innings of the Molalla game.



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