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Slow start proves costly for the Gladiators

Gladstone diamondmen taste defeat at No. 5 Sisters

One bad inning proved costly for Gladstone, as the Gladiators bowed out of the Class 4A high school baseball playoffs with a 4-2 loss to Sisters in a first-round playoff game played at Sisters on May 23.

Sisters scored three runs in the first inning on Gladstone's only error, three base hits, a sacrifice and a run-scoring groundout.

'[Pitcher] Justin Layton was solid for us after a rough first inning,' said Gladstone coach Casey Webster. 'He settled down, threw strikes and kept us in the game....

'I thought we played hard, and we hit the ball hard. But we hit a lot of balls right at people. We outhit them, but we couldn't get the hits when it counted....

'I'm pretty proud of the kids for their effort, but it was a tough way to end it.'

Trailing 4-0, the Gladiators battled back with a two-run sixth inning. Daniel Wallace (2-for-3) and Trace Webster (2-for-3) got things started with base hits. Reese Foxworthy reached on an overthrow, scoring Wallace. Trace Webster then scored on a ground ball by Zach Webster.

Layton pitched a complete game for Gladstone, striking out two and walking one. He gave up just two hits after the first inning.

Sisters' pitcher struck out seven and walked one, while allowing seven hits.

With the loss, the Gladiators finished with an overall record of 12-15. Fifth-ranked Sisters improved to 24-3.

The Gladiators lose most of the players on this year's squad to graduation.

Starters in the Sisters playoff game included: seniors Layton (pitcher), Wallace (second base), Casey Rourke (first base), Trace Webster (shortstop), Dakota Braun (centerfield), Reese Foxworthy (right field) and Eamon Burrell (designated hitter); junior Zach Webster (catcher); sophomore A.J. Swalko (third base); and freshman Ben Fox (left field).

Freshman Ben Hunter saw action as a pinch runner.

'With few returnees [from varsity], we'll have a young team next year,' said Webster. 'But there are some young kids coming up who've got a lot of talent.'