Cinderella Gladiators 3rd in county
They prove they can play defense with the best of them
The Gladstone Gladiators were the Cinderella team of the Clackamas County Junior Baseball Junior American Championship Tournament.
After going 8-7 in regular-season league play and placing fourth in their league, the Gladiators had to beat Wilsonville 5-3 in a play-in game just to make the county tournament. And they entered the eight-team county tournament seeded eighth.
But they ended up third in the tournament, bouncing back after a 6-0 loss to Canby in their tournament opener, with wins over two Tualatin teams (14-3 and 8-5) and over Silverton (20-6), before losing to Canby again (14-4) in the losers bracket final.
We told the kids [after the 6-0 loss to Canby] they had played some of the toughest teams in the state in league and that if they played the type of ball they were capable of playing, that they could compete, said Gladstone coach Dave Prom. They listened to what the coaches said and we knocked off the top three teams from the other league [in the county tournament]. I couldnt be prouder.
Prom noted that although his Gladiators went 8-7 in league, five of the seven losses were to Canby and North Marion, which ended up playing one another in the county tournament championship final. North Marion went on to place second at the Junior American State Tournament.
The kids improved throughout the year, even though they lost seven [league] games, said Prom. They worked really hard. We didnt have any superstars; all 13 kids contributed. It was really a team effort...
Prom said that pitching and defense were pivotal in the Gladiators success story.
We had pretty good depth in pitching. he said. We used six pitchers in the tournament. No one was overpowering. We didnt get a lot of strikeouts. But we had pitchers who threw strikes and the defense made the plays behind them....
Our bats were hot and cold, but we played good defense all year.
Vying for the Gladiators were: Andrew Prom (pitcher/first base), Derek Lee (pitcher/first base), Ben McCoy (pitcher/third base/outfield), Matthew Kuhn (pitcher/catcher/third base), Matthew Lehrbach (pitcher/shortstop/outfield), Tyler Myers (second base/outfield), Austin Conner (second base/catcher), Colin Galvin (shortstop), Spencer Boyd (outfield), Dawson Wick (outfield), Michael Lex (second base/outfield), Josh Wheeler (catcherthird base) and Chase Watts (first base/outfield).
Wheeler hit a home run in the 20-6 win over Silverton, but that was the Gladiators only home run of the country tournament.
Wes Lehrbach, Dan Conner, Lour McCoy and Mike Kuhn assisted Prom in coaching the team.
The third-place finish advanced Gladstone to last weekends state tournament in Lebanon. They beat Newberg in their opener, but then bowed out with losses to Central and Barlow. Central went on to defeat North Marion for the state title.