Dudley no hits Molalla, fanning 14 in a 7-1 win

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Nena Dudley gets the force out at second in Gladstones 10-1 rout of Estacada. Dudley starred on the mound in last weeks 7-1 win over Molalla, striking out 14 in a no-hitter.Ranked second in the state in Class 4A, Gladstone High School’s softball team upped its season record to 16-1 with a pair of lopsided wins in Tri-Valley Conference league play last week.

Junior Nena Dudley threw a no-hitter on April 15, striking out 14 and walking one in a 7-1 win over Molalla. And on April 18, junior Megan Kirchem struck out 10, walked no one and allowed five hits and no earned runs in a 10-1 win over Estacada.

Estacada’s only run scored in the fifth inning, when the Rangers strung two base hits together with a passed ball and an error.

Molalla’s only run scored with two down in the first inning. Molalla batters reached on a walk and throwing error, and advanced on a wild pitch. The run then scored on a late throw home from first after a dropped third strike.

Dudley (3-for-3), senior Ashlee Muller (3-for-4) and junior Julia Schumaker (2-for-3, triple, 2 runs) had the hot bats in the Estacada game, as the Gladiators’ reach Estacada pitchers for 11 hits.

“I was especially happy with with our hitting [in the Estacada game],” said Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier. “We hit the ball really well throughout the lineup and we ran the bases really well. We put the ball in play. We only struck out one time.”

The Gladiators put the Rangers away in the first inning, when they scored six runs on five hits, two walks and a run-scoring groundout. Dudley hit two singles in the big inning, as the Gladiators sent 11 batters to the plate. Kirchem, Muller and freshman Kat Kerr, who scored on a wild pitch, also had base hits in the inning.

Led by Kirchem (2-for-3) and sophomore Andra Breshears (2-for-2), the Gladiators reached Molalla’s pitcher for nine base hits in the seven-inning game with the Indians. Dudley helped her own cause, walking twice and scoring two runs.

The Gladiators scored three times in the bottom of the first, as they took charge of the game from the outset. Dudley led off with a base hit, advanced all the way to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Kirchem. Muller drew a walk and Schumaker reached on an error, bringing one run around. Kerr followed with a run-scoring single and junior Meghan Winkle rapped a RBI-groundout.

Two runs scored in the second, on a sacrifice fly by Muller and on a RBI-single by Schumaker.

Two more runs scored in the sixth, on a base hit by junior Erica Ward and on a run-scoring walk by Breshears.

The Tri-Valley Conference has turned out to be a tough conference, with three conference teams entering play this week ranked in the top five in the state in the OSAA power rankings.

Heading into play this week, the Gladiators (16-1, 5-1) were tied with fourth-ranked Molalla (10-4, 5-1) in first place in the TVL standings.

Gladstone suffered its only loss in an April 5 game played at fifth-ranked Madras (11-6, 3-3). Madras and Gladstone were to meet for a second time on Tuesday (April 23), at Gladstone.

The Gladiators have an away game with 13th-ranked North Marion (10-6, 2-4) this Thursday, and they entertain 12th-ranked La Salle (7-5, 3-3) on Friday.

The Gladiators put up some pretty impressive statistics through their first 17 games. Their team batting average was .345.

The top sluggers were Dudley (.517 batting average, 21 runs scored), Muller (.475 batting average, 26 RBI, 19 runs scored), Kirchem (.438 batting average) and Schumaker (.387 batting average, 17 runs scored).

Dudley had a 7-0 record with a 0.46 ERA, striking out 91 and walking 14 in 46 innings.

Kirchem had a 9-1 record and a 0.34 ERA, with 81 strikeouts and 11 walks in 61 innings.

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