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Glad diamondmen win state

The Gladiators go 4-0 at the 2014 Junior State Division I Championship Tournament


by: JULIE SALTARES - Gladstone High School baseball players did themselves and their community proud last weekend, winning the state championship in the top division of Junior State Baseball. Pictured are members of the standout team: (front row, left to right) Branden Loehr, Daniel Contreras, Devin Neer, Austin Krieger, Trey DePretto and Tyrus Coady; and (back row) coach Mark Rourke, Logan Saltares, Trask Telesmanich, Ryan Kelner, Andrew Gross, coach Rob Staehle, Carter Watts, Collin Betnar, Ben Fox, Darnell Washington and head coach Casey Webster.What a summer!

Gladstone High School’s top summer baseball team capped off a tremendous summer season, going 4-0 and winning the Junior State Division I State Championship Tournament, played at Western Oregon University July 24-27.

The Gladiators dropped Scappoose 10-2 in Sunday afternoon’s state tournament final, after advancing through wins over McNary (8-1), defending Junior State state champion Summit (7-5) and Dallas (6-3).

Their summer win-loss record was 22-9. They had advanced to the state tournament by going 10-4 in their summer league and tying Scappoose for first place. They had split with the Indians, losing 15-14, and winning 5-2, in league play.

Pitching and hitting were huge for the Gladiators at the state tournament. They out-hit their four state tournament opponents 40-20, and they had a team batting average of .347 for the state tournament, led by senior centerfielder Ben Fox (.538, 7-for-13), sophomore pitcher/infielder Logan Saltares (.461, 6-for-13), senior pitcher/infielder Trask Telesmanich (.444, 4-for-9), and senior outfielder Collin Betnar (.428, 6-for-14).

Gladstone senior Austin Krieger pitched complete games in the 8-1 win over McNary on July 24 and in the 10-2 win over Scappoose on Sunday. Telesmanich went the distance on the mound in the 7-5 win over Summit and Saltares pitched a complete game in Saturday’s 6-3 semifinal win over Dallas.

“I think this is our first ever [state title in Junior Baseball],” said Gladstone coach Casey Webster. “This was a special group. We had a team where everyone likes each other. They play together and they swing the bats. Everyone contributes. They love the game and they’ve played well all season. They’re fun to be around.”

Krieger, Telesmanich, Tyrus Coady and Fox played huge roles during the state tournament.

Krieger was dynamite in Sunday’s championship final with the Indians, striking out eight and walking no one, while yielding five scattered hits and just one earned run. He threw only 83 pitches and 61 of them were strikes.

“He had command of all of his stuff and he got better as the game went along,” said Webster. “His curve was on, he had a nice change going, and he located his fastball well.”

Krieger’s teammates supported him with near error-free defense, committing just one error.

When Telesmanich pitched in the 7-5 win over Summit, it was his first time pitching in a month — because of a broken finger on his throwing hand.

“We’d missed his pitching and his bat,” said Webster. “Without Trask, I don’t know that we win the state tournament. Having him able to pitch helped out a lot.”

Just prior to the state tournament, Webster learned that he would be without catcher Branden Loehr, who was diagnosed with mononucleosis. Coady, who had played designated hitter and some first base, stepped in in Loehr’s absence and caught every inning of the state tournament.

“Tyrus stepped it up and did a great job for us,” said Webster. “He was solid.”

“Ben Fox is a player,” Webster said. “He gets on base and he’s got speed. The other kids feed off of him. And the rest of the kids aren’t too shabby. Scappoose’s coach commented after the game, ‘Everyone on your team hits the ball.’ We take pride in our hitting. It’s been a strength for us all season.”

The Gladiators brought their bats with them in Sunday’s final with the Indians, pounding out 11 hits and scoring runs in six of the seven innings. They went up 3-1 with two runs in the top of the third and were in the driver’s seat the rest of the way.

Fox (3-for-3, double, triple, 3 runs scored), Betnar (3-for-4, double, 2 RBI) and Krieger (2-for-5, 4 RBI, 2 runs) led the offensive attack in the final.

The Gladiators played some of their finest baseball of the summer in Saturday’s state tournament semifinal with Dallas. They played near error-free ball behind Logan Saltares (3 strikeouts, 5 walks), who pitched a complete game, yielding just four hits and one earned run, while throwing shutout ball from the third inning on.

“It was another really good game by both teams,” Webster said.

Nursing a 4-3 lead, the Gladiators put the game away in a controversial seventh inning, when they brought two more runs around.

Trask Telesmanich drew a walk to lead off the top of the seventh. He stole second and advanced to third on an infield single by Collin Betnar.

Betnar stole second and Darnell Washington followed with a base hit to left field. Telesmanich scored on the single, and Betnar was award home on defensive interference when he collided with a defender, while heading to third base.

“I was sending him home and he would have made it anyway,” Webster said.”There was some controversy. Their coach said Collin tripped, but there was definitely some contact.”

The Gladiators closed out the inning in top form. After Dallas’ leadoff hitter singled, Saltares handled a comebacker and turned it into a double play, making the play to Andrew Gross at second base, who relayed the ball to first baseman Austin Krieger. The next batter grounded out to Trey DePretto at third base to end the game.

Betnar (2-for-4) had a two-run double in the first inning; Ben Fox had a run-scoring base hit and Andrew Gross (2-for-4, triple and double) had a run-scoring double in the second frame.

The Gladiators had their bats working, as they pounded out 13 hits in the 8-1 win over McNary. Krieger was sharp on the mound, striking out five and walking one, while giving up just four hits and no earned runs in seven full innings of work.

Fox (3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI, 3 stolen bases) and Saltares (3-for-4, 2 RBI) led the hitting barrage. Krieger and DePretto both came through with a pair of hits in three at bats.

The Gladiators took charge of the Summit game early, going ahead for good with a five-run second inning. Fox got things started in the inning when he forced in a run as a hit batter. Gross (3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI) followed with a two-run single, Krieger had a run-scoring sacrifice fly and Betnar plated what would prove the game-winner with a run-scoring base hit.

There was a little bit of drama in the bottom of the seventh frame when Summit narrowed Gladstone’s lead to 7-5 with a one-out RBI double. However Fox corralled a line drive in centerfield and Daniel Contreras chased down a fly ball in right field to end the inning and the game.

Trask Telesmanich struck out one batter, walked two, scattered seven hits, and allowed only two earned runs.



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