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Gladstone junior Nena Dudley throws a perfect game

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Gladstone junior Nena Dudley struck out 13 and didnt allow a baserunner in a recent 10-0 six-inning win over Sutherlin. Heading into play this week, Dudley sported a 5-0 record, with 61 strikeouts in 30 innings.The Gladstone Gladiators last week continued to prove themselves one of the top high school softball teams in the state, as they rallied around junior pitchers Nena Dudley and Megan Kirchem to push their preseason record to 11-0, defeating Creswell (7-3), Newport (3-1), Sutherlin (10-0) and Lebanon (14-3) in a spring break tournament at Newport.

Heading into this week’s Tri-Valley Conference openers at Estacada (1-6) and at fifth-ranked Madras (8-3), the Class 4A Gladiators had more wins than any other Oregon high school softball team. Ranked third in the state in Class 4A, they were the only team in Class 4A, 5A or 6A still unbeaten on the 2013 high school season.

“We’re playing really well,” said Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier. “Our pitching’s been great, we’re getting hits when we need them, and we’ve played tremendous defense, except for our last game with Lebanon, in which we made four errors. Before that game I think we’d made just six errors all year.”

Kirchem and Dudley have been outstanding in the circle for the Gladiators. Entering play this week, Kirchem sported a 6-0 record with a 0.38 ERA, 51 strikeouts and eight walks in 37 winnings. Dudley had a 5-0 record, with a 0.70 ERA, 61 strikeouts and eight walks in 30 innings.

Dudley fans 13

in a ‘perfect game’

Dudley pitched the second perfect game of her high school career in a 10-0, six-inning win over Sutherlin on March 26, striking out 13 of 18 batters and walking no one, while allowing no hits and no baserunners. It was the second perfect game of her high school career for Dudley, who struck out eight of 15 batters in a 15-0, five-inning rout of Estacada on April 5 of last year.

Mortier commented: “Nena was on. She had a good rise and a good drop, and she was hitting her spots.”

Dudley helped her own cause in last week’s 10-0 rout, hammering a bases-loaded triple in a nine-run first inning.

Molly Webster went 2-for-2, with a double, as the Gladiators reached Sutherlin pitchers for eight hits and five walks.

Kirchem (8 strikeouts, no walks, one hit batter) had a perfect game going through 4-1/3 innings in last week’s 3-1 win over Newport. She allowed only two hits, a single in the fifth and a lead-off home run to Newport’s Emma Parents in the bottom of the seventh.

The Gladiators scored one run in the top of the first on a lead-off single and stolen base by Dudley, and a run-scoring two-out double by Julia Schumaker.

They added two runs in the sixth on a base hit by Kat Kerr, a Newport error, a run-scoring sacrifice fly by Webster, and a run-scoring single by Kirchem.

Kirchem (2-for-3) and Ashlee Muller (2-for-4, double) headed up Gladstone’s offense, as the Gladiators reached Newport’s pitcher for eight hits.

It was only the second loss in eight games this season for the Cubs (6-2).

Dudley struck out 12 and walked one, while allowing four hits and two earned runs in the Gladiators’ 7-3 six-inning win over Creswell.

Dudley (4-for-4), Muller (2-for-3, 2 doubles, 5 RBI), Schumaker (2-for-4, double) and courtesy runner Andra Breshears (4 runs scored) led Gladstone’s offense, as the Gladiators stung the ball for 10 hits.

Kirchem pitched in the 14-3 five-inning win over Lebanon, striking out seven and walking no one, while allowing three hits and no earned runs.

Ten different Gladstone players got hits, as the Gladiators stung the ball for 17 hits. Top sluggers were Muller (3-for-4, double, 5 RBI), Kirchem (2-for-3, 2-run double), Schumaker (2-for-4, RBI-triple), Meghan Winkle (2-for-4, RBI-double), Kennedy Coy (2-for-2), Erica Ward (2-for-3) and Dudley (RBI-double).

The Gladiators return home next Wednesday (April 10), when they entertain North Marion (8-2).

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