The ninth-ranked Gladiators improve to 10-1 with an 8-6 win at North Marion
AURORA - Battling a tight strike zone, Gladstone's ninth-ranked baseball team held off North Marion for an 8-6 victory on Friday.
Gladstone ace Alex Armstrong had nine walks to go along with nine strikeouts in a 4-hitter. Two North Marion pitchers walked eight batters and hit two more.
'Alex wasn't his best, but he doesn't walk four guys in the seventh inning…,' said Gladstone coach Casey Webster. 'We weren't as sharp as we could be, but we got the win, so we'll take it.'
With the win the Gladiators improved to 10-1 in conference (12-5 overall), giving them a three-game cushion over second-place La Salle (10-9, 9-4).
Trailing 8-4, North Marion closed the gap in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs off of Armstrong on four walks and one timely base hit.
Reliever Kevin Peterson came in with one down and the bases loaded and got the Gladiators out the of jam with a double play. Peterson fielded a ground ball, threw home to Thane Rice for the force at the plate; and Rice fired to Armstrong at first in time to complete the double play and end the game.
The Gladiators got only six hits in the game, but they made their hits count.
Austen Cote drew a run-scoring walk and Trey Durkee rapped a two-run single in a three-run second inning.
Armstrong hit a two-run single and Cote belted a run-scoring sacrifice fly in a four-run third inning.
Brett Holte came through with a RBI-single in the sixth.
Armstrong (2-for-3) and Holte (2-for-4) had four of the Gladiators' six hits.
Drew McNall scored three runs, reaching base three times on walks and a fourth time as a hit batsman.
It was the Gladiators' third win over the Huskies this season.
'I feel pretty good about where we're at,' said Webster. 'Now we've just got to take care of business and win this thing outright. I tell the kids we've got to 'maintain our focus, take it one game at a time, and do the things we do well.''
The Gladiators play at Stayton (4-11, 3-8) this afternoon. They return home next week, hosting La Salle on Monday and Cascade (9-10, 4-6) in back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.