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Glad diamond girls stumble

The Gladiators forget to unpack their bats in a 5-0 loss to North Marion

GLADSTONE - Last Friday was not Friday the 13th. But you'd have a hard time convincing Gladstone's softball team of that.

The sixth-ranked Gladiators had more than their share of hard luck on Friday, as they got shut out by ninth-ranked North Marion 5-0.

But the hard luck didn't stop there. The Gladiators lost all-league catcher Tamara Feb to an injury in the fourth inning.

'She strained some muscles in her rib cage [while at bat],' said Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier. 'She swings so hard, it just did it to her.'

Feb left the field by ambulance and after that the normally hard hitting Gladiators struck out eight times.

'The girls were pretty shook up,' said Mortier.

Besides her top defensive skills, Feb entered the game as the Gladiators' leading hitter, with a .538 batting average.

The loss to North Marion was especially painful, because the Gladiators had defeated the Huskies 14-4 in an April 15 game at North Marion and the win gained the Huskies a 2-1 edge in this year's series between the two teams.

North Marion first-team all-conference pitcher Sam Pack struck out 11 Gladstone batters in a 3-hitter. The Gladiators had reached Pack for seven hits and eight earned runs in just 2-1/3 innings in the April 15 game.

Gladstone's biggest scoring threat on Friday came in the fourth inning. After Feb left the game, Kelly VanHook took her place at the plate and drew a walk, giving the Glads runners on first and third with just one down. But Pack retired the next two batters on strikes.

Freshman Kate Santos (2-for-3) picked up two of the Gladiators' three hits.

The Huskies scored two runs in the fourth on two singles, a sacrifice and a Gladiator error; two runs in the sixth on four back-to-back singles; and one run in the seventh on a base hit, an intentional walk and a double.

Gladstone pitcher Brittany Wagner allowed 10 hits, while striking out three.

The loss left the Gladiators (8-3, 12-3) third in the conference standings, trailing North Marion (13-3, 10-2) and seventh-ranked Cascade (14-4, 9-2).

Gladstone hosts Molalla in a makeup game on Thursday and the Gladiators travel to La Salle next Monday. They meet Cascade twice next week, hosting the Cougars in a makeup game on Tuesday and traveling to Cascade on Wednesday.