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Gladstone diamond girls flex their muscle

The Gladiators up their stock with convincing wins over state powers North Marion and Valley Catholic
by: Miles Vance, Gladstone catcher Tamara Feb picks off a runner in last week's extra inning win over Valley Catholic.

GLADSTONE - Last week was a huge week for Gladstone High School's softball team.

The ninth-ranked Gladiators proved without question that they are among the top teams in the state, as they dispatched with North Marion (14-4), Valley Catholic (2-1), Stayton (10-5) and La Salle (12-3).

It was only the second loss of the season for the Huskies (11-3, 8-2), who entered the game with Gladstone ranked third in the state in Class 4A.

It was the first loss of the season for the Valiants (15-1), who are the defending state champions in Class 3A.

Gladstone (12-2, 8-2) entered play this week tied with Cascade (13-4, 8-2) and North Marion (11-3, 8-2) for first place in the Capital Conference standings.

'That was our best-played game of the year,' Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier said, following the nonleague game with Valley Catholic. 'They are a really, really good team.'

Valley Catholic pitcher Sami Picken, last year's Class 3A pitcher of the year, had 10 shutouts on the season entering the Gladstone game. But the Gladiators had her number, as they reached Picken for 10 hits.

Still, the game was a barnburner from the start, and it took the Gladiators three extra innings to pull out the win.

'We left 10 runners on base,' said Mortier. 'And they gunned us down twice at home plate.'

The game was a scoreless tie through the first five innings.

The Gladiators scored in the top of the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Tamara Feb and Kate Santos.

Valley Catholic had the answer, scoring on a single and RBI double in the bottom of the sixth.

Playing under the international tiebreaker, the Gladiators started the 10th with Bailie Foxworthy on second base. Foxworthy moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by B.K. Kauffman and scored on a late throw home on a fielder's choice by Corissa Santos.

'We were fortunate [to start the 10th] with Bailie on second base,' said Mortier. 'She's our fastest runner.'

Feb silenced the Valiants' hopes of a comeback in the bottom of the 10th, when she called a pitchout and picked off the runner at second base.

'That was Feb's fifth pickoff of the season,' said Mortier. 'No one's even tried to steal on her this season….

'Tamara calls the game, including the picks. She's the total [field] general.'

Both teams played error-free defense.

Picken struck out eight and walked one.

Brittany Wagner pitched for Gladstone, striking out five, walking no one and scattering eight hits.

'Brittany did a great job keeping her pitches on the outside and hitting the corners,' said Mortier. 'Her pitch count was 99 strikes and only 40 balls.'

Corissa Santos, Feb and April Alldritt came through with two hits apiece for Gladstone.

Last week's 14-4 rout of North Marion avenged an earlier 2-1 loss.

'Their pitcher couldn't hit her spots and we made her pay,' said Mortier.

The Gladiators put the Huskies away in the third inning when they scored eight runs on six hits, two walks, a hit batsman and one error. Foxworthy smacked a two-run double in the big inning.

The Gladiators reached North Marion all-conference pitcher Sam Pack for seven hits and eight earned runs in 2-1/3 innings. They got 11 more hits and six more runs off of reliever Morgan Sukanan.

Big sticks for the Gladiators included: Foxworthy (3-for-5), with a solo home run, two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored; Feb (3-for-3), with two doubles and three runs scored; Kate Santos (3-for-5), with a double, two RBI and two runs.

The Huskies reached Wagner (4 strikeouts, one walk) for 10 hits.

The Gladiators topped Stayton 10-5 despite pitcher control problems. Starting pitcher Jillian Marl (4 strikeouts, 3 hits) walked seven batters.

It wasn't until the sixth inning that the Gladiators put the Eagles away with a four-run rally.

Foxworthy (2-for-3, one double) scored three times; Moriah Spreeman (2-for-2) drove in two runs; Feb smacked a solo home run in the fourth inning.

The Gladiators rattled their bats for 12 hits and scored in five different innings in their 12-3 rout of La Salle.

Big sticks were Feb (3-for-3) with a three-run home run, Foxworthy (3-for-3) with two RBI, Spreeman (3-for-4) with two RBI, and Alldritt (2-for-3) with two doubles and two runs scored.

Wagner and Marl split time, striking out 11 and walking five in a 2-hitter.

The Gladiators had a big week ahead of them this week. They were to host Cascade on Monday. They entertain Molalla this afternoon and they host North Marion in a rematch Friday at 3 p.m.