The junior talent picks up two wins in five days

by: DAVID BLAIR - GLADSTONE JUNIOR AUSTIN KRIEGERLast week was a big week for Austin Krieger.

The junior left-hander led the Gladiators to victory in two of three baseball games, scattering six hits in an 8-1 complete-game win over Molalla on May 5, and yielding just three hits in a 10-0 five-inning victory at Madras on Friday.

“Austin was really, really good,” Gladstone coach Casey Webster said, following last Friday’s shutout. “He had command of all his pitches, his change and his curve. He threw really, really well.”

Krieger threw only 55 pitches in Friday’s five-inning game and 44 of them were strikes. He had six strikeouts and walked no one in that game.

In the seven-inning game at Molalla, Krieger had three strikeouts, while walking two, in the six-hitter. And his teammates played error-free ball behind him.

The Gladiators took command of last Friday’s game at Madras from the outset, scoring five runs in the first inning, when they combined three timely hits and a run-scoring sacrifice fly with two hit batsman and a walk.

Ben Fox led off that game with a double. A.J. Swalko reached as a hit batter. The runners advanced when Trask Telesmanich laid down a sacrifice bunt.

Chris Toh brought one run around with a base hit. Krieger reached as a hit batsman to load up the bases, and Andrew Gross plated a second tally with a sacrifice fly.

Collin Betnar walked and then Branden Loehr cleared the bases with a double.

Toh (2-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 runs), Krieger (2-for-2, 2 RBI), Fox (2-for-2, 3 runs) led a nine-hit Gladiator offensive attack with two hits apiece. Swalko had a run-scoring triple and he scored twice.

The Gladiators were in command all the way in the 8-1 win at Molalla. They scored runs in four different innings and were up 7-0 before Molalla pushed a run across in the bottom of the fifth.

The Gladiators punished the ball for 10 hits, with Toh (2-for-2, 3 runs), Mitchell Foeller (2-for-4), Collin Betnar (2-for-4, 2 runs) and Krieger (3 RBI) leading the way. Krieger plated runs with a two-run single in the first frame and a run-scoring sacrifice fly later on.

“We swung the bats, Austin Krieger had a great outing, and our defense was pretty good,” Webster said.

Suspect defense and a lack of timely hitting proved costly on May 7, when the Gladiators got shut out, losing 4-0, at Estacada.

“We struggled at the plate,” said Webster. “They threw a lefty and we were out front.”

Estacada lefty-hander Casey Jones pitched a complete game, striking out five and walking one in a two-hitter. Betnar and Loehr both singled for Gladstone’s only hits.

Gladstone junior Trask Telesmanich threw a complete game and pitched well enough to win, striking out four, walking one and hitting two batters, while allowing just three hits and two earned runs.

Heading into this the final week of the Tri-Valley Conference league season, Gladstone (14-8, 7-5) was in a heated battle with La Salle (14-3, 9-1), North Marion (18-4, 8-3) and Estacada (11-10, 7-4) for one of the TVC’s three berths in postseason.

“We could finish third or second, or possibly gain a spot through the power rankings,” said Webster. “We basically control our own destiny.”

The Gladiators had a home game with North Marion on May 12. They finish up their league schedule playing La Salle on the road today and hosting Molalla (7-13, 3-8) on Friday.

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