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Baseball team climbs into tie for second place

Estacada pitcher Casey Jones fires a shutout in last week's 4-0 win over Gladstone


by: ESTACADA NEWS: PARKER LEE - Estacadas Zach Stamm dives safely back to first base on a pick-off attempt against Gladstone. As the Estacada Rangers jogged off the field in the sixth inning of their May 7 contest against Gladstone, they threw around high fives and fist bumps with one another. At that moment they held a 2-0 lead and sat three outs away from victory. Head coach Ryan Carpenter told his crew to score another run or two in the bottom of the sixth, just for fun. Estacada did add two runs, and it was just for fun, because Ranger ace Casey Jones didn’t need the extra cushion.

Jones was brilliant as he hurled a two-hit shutout to lead the Rangers to a 4-0 win. Estacada won the season series over the Gladiators with the victory.

“Our confidence is through the roof right now,” Jones said. “We feel like we can beat anybody.”

Jones’ gem was one of the most efficient pitching performances by an Estacada pitcher in years. He only allowed three Gladiators to reach base, and two of them were sent back to the dugout on double plays. Jones needed only 64 pitches to get through the full seven innings.

Over the course of the past two seasons, Jones has carved out a niche for himself on the mound. He doesn’t generally strike out a ton of batters and is happy to let the opposition put the ball in play. That formula worked masterfully for him against Gladstone. Jones did earn a handful of strikeouts – five of them in all – to help his cause, but he wasn’t selfish and he allowed his teammates to give him a hand. The Rangers were perfect in the field and made plenty of tough plays to keep Gladstone off the base paths.

The Rangers were able to have such success defensively because of Jones’ ability to locate. He made no mistakes and left nothing up in the strike zone. When the Gladiators did make contact, they only managed soft grounders and routine fly balls.

“He had them off balance all game and they never figured him out,” Carpenter said. “When they did hit the ball, our defense fielded it with confidence and did what we expect them to do, so that was nice to see.”

It took Estacada a few innings to give its ace the lead. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Rangers broke through. Brandon Beck got Estacada on the scoreboard when he smoked a double to the gap in left-center to score Chris Smith from second base. Beck moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and then scored when Jones bounced a ground ball to second base.

Smith and Beck both scored again in the sixth thanks to a pair of Gladstone errors. Estacada only had three base hits as a team, but the Rangers forced the Gladiators into several defensive miscues throughout the game on their way to the win.

“This says a lot about our program. It shows that everything we have been working for, and all the effort we have put in, is starting to pay off,” Carpenter said. “We have been focusing on winning series, and to win a series against one of the better teams in our league is a tribute to our players.”

Estacada rode the momentum of the win into Saturday’s game against first-place La Salle. The Rangers stunned La Salle and won 10-2. Estacada then smashed Madras 12-2 on Monday. With the victory over Madras, Estacada moved into a second-place tie with North Marion in the Tri-Valley Conference standings. The Huskies and Rangers each sat one game behind La Salle after Monday’s contests. Estacada and La Salle square off in the season finale on Friday.

View a photo gallery from the game at parkerlee.exposuremanager.com.




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