They go 4-2 in a wood bat tournament in Oregon City

Gladstone High School’s top summer baseball team has been impressive in recent play, with the players holding their own in games with teams from big-school programs.

The Gladiators went 4-2 and placed fourth in a recent wood bat tournament hosted by Oregon City. The Gladiators were the smallest school of the 11 teams entered, which included 6A, 5A and American Legion teams.

They won their first four games of the four-day tournament, before running out of pitching arms and yielding to the Portland area The Barbers American Legion team 14-1, and to Oregon City 11-10 in the third-place final.

In their first four games of the tournament, they defeated Sunset 3-1, Gresham 3-1, Ridge of Lacey, Washington 9-0, and Ridgeview out of Redmond 12-2 in six innings.

“We’re playing some pretty good baseball,” said Gladstone coach Casey Webster. “We’re getting good pitching and we’re playing good defense, and when you have those two things, it keeps you in games.”

Senior left-hander Austin Krieger pitched a complete game in the 3-1 win over the Apollos, striking out six and walking six, while scattering four hits and allowing no earned runs.

The Gladiators picked up only four hits in that game, but they made their hits count.

Gladstone went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, scoring on a base hit by senior Ben Fox, a run-scoring triple by senior Trask Telesmanich (2-for-3) and a run-scoring groundout by sophomore Darnell Washington.

The Glads made it 3-0 in the third frame, scoring a single tally on a base hit by senior Daniel Contreras, an error and a run-scoring double by Telesmanich.

Junior right-hander Devin Neer pitched a complete game against Gresham, striking out two, walking three and yielding three hits. The Gladiators played error-free defense behind Neer.

Trailing 1-0, the Gladiators scored all three of their runs in the fourth frame. Fox and junior Andrew Gross hit singles. Telesmanich smacked a run-scoring double, Washington rapped a run-scoring sacrifice fly, and senior Collin Betnar had a run-scoring groundout.

The Gladiators struck out only once in the game with Sunset and only three time in the shutout of Gresham.

Sophomore Logan Saltares pitched a complete game in the 9-0 shutout of Ridge, striking out four, walking two and scattering seven hits.

The Gladiators took advantage of four Ridge errors to score runs in five different innings. They made it 4-0 with three runs in the top of the fourth, scoring on walks by Krieger and Tyrus Coady, a base hit by Betnar (2-for-4, triple), a sacrifice bunt by Saltares, a run-scoring groundout by senior Branden Loehr, and RBI singles by senior Carter Watts and Fox.

Sophomore Ryan Kelner (4 strikeouts, no walks) allowed only 3-hits in six innings in the 12-2 rout of Ridgeview.

The Gladiators fired up their bats for 10 hits, led by Fox (2-for-4, 2 runs), Gross (2-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBI), Washington (2-for-3, double, 2 runs) and Betnar (4 RBI). Betnar had a three-run inside-the-park home run in the winning effort, his first roundtripper of the summer.

Saltares, Loehr and Contreras all rapped singles for Gladstone’s only hits in the 14-1 loss to the Barbers.

“We saw the best pitching of the tournament by far,” said Webster. “I think their starting pitcher was “player of the year” in the Mt. Hood Conference.”

The third-place final with Oregon City was a barnburner. The Gladiators earned an 11-8 edge in hitting in the 11-10 loss.

Fox went 4-for-4 at the plate, with a double, a triple and three RBI; Washington went 2-for-4, with two doubles and three RBI, Krieger went 2-for-4; Watts had two RBI and scored twice.

The only sour note for Gladstone in the tournament was the loss of Telesmanich to a broken finger on his throwing arm.

The Gladiators continued impressive on July 1, when they handled Centennial, winning 4-0.

Saltares went the distance, striking out seven, walking two and yielding only four hits. He was supported by error-free defensive play.

The Gladiators scored runs in four different innings. Fox (2-for-3) hit a solo home run in the first inning; Gross had a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the third frame; Trey DePretto had a run-scoring groundout in the fourth inning; and Loehr rounded out the scoring with a RBI-single in the fifth.

In another recent game, the Gladiators had West Linn on the ropes in a tough 5-4 loss. The Lions scored two runs with two down in the seventh frame to steal the win.

Betnar (2-for-2, 2 RBI) led a Gladiator six-hit offensive attack.

The Gladiators had their bats working in recent games with Scappoose and La Salle. They pounded out 18 hits in an 11-0 shutout of their rivals on July 3, and they had 16 hits in a 15-14 loss to Scappoose on July 2.

Gross (4-for-4, 4 runs), Fox (3-for-5, 4 runs, 3 RBI), Washington (3-for-5, double, 4 RBI), Contreras (3-for-4, 3 runs) and Betnar (2 doubles, 3 RBI) led the hit parade at Scappoose.

Gross (3-for-4, 2 runs), Fox (3-for-4, bases loaded triple, double), Betnar (3-for-4, double), Contreras (3-for-3) and Krieger (2-for-2, 2 RBI) had the hot bats at La Salle.

Krieger pitched a complete game in the shutout of La Salle, striking out eight, walking two and scattering six hits.

Through play July 1, Fox was Gladstone’s top hitter, with a .429 batting average and 17 runs scored, in 16 games. He had 21 hits, eight of them for extra bases. Fox was also a perfect 14-for-14 on stolen base attempts.

Gladstone’s top pitchers were Neer (3-0, 2.85 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 19-2/3 innings), Saltares (3-2, 1.7 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 28-2/3 innings), Telesmanich (2.29 ERA, 12 strikeouts in 18-1/3 innings) and Krieger (3.0 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 23-1/3 innings).

Gladstone (10-8) plays at Horizon Christian tonight at 6, and the Gladiators entertain Putnam at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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