Coach Webster expects a dogfight in TVC baseball

GLADSTONE - Gladstone baseball coach Casey Webster says just how successful his Gladiators are this spring will depend on how quickly his pitchers develop.

'We've got a good group of guys coming back, and a good group of seniors,' said Webster. 'I expect us to be a good offensive team. The big questionmark right now is pitching.'

Webster says that, with the exception of returning pitcher Hector Campos, his pitchers have yet to prove themselves in varsity-level play. He says that seniors Joe Baker, Drew Walters and Sage Patrocinio, and juniors Eamon Burrell, Justin Layton and Dakota Braun will all get a chance to throw when Campos is playing first base or shortstop.

Kenny Simac, a third-year starter at catcher, will provide leadership in the infield. He was a first-team all-league selection a year ago.

The Gladiators have three second-team all-league players returning in seniors Sean Murphy (centerfield), Walters (utility) and Baker (second base).

Webster's' son, junior Trace Webster, will help shore up the infield, starting at third base.

The Gladiators swung their bats in their season opener, a 14-7 win over Hood River at Hood River. Campos (3-for-4, double, 3 RBI), junior outfielder/DH Reese Foxworthy (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Baker (2-for-5, double, 3 RBI) led a 14-hit attack that saw four players get extra-base hits. The Gladiators turned two double plays in the victory.

The Gladiators got two more games in in a trip to Southern California, losing to Belflower 12-5, and to Whittier 12-6. Baker and sophomore Dalton Moe had two hits apiece in the loss to Belflower; Webster and Baker had two hits apiece in the loss to Whittier.

Webster said of the Tri-Valley Conference: 'I think the league will be wide open this year. La Salle and Estacada will be improved, and I hear [defending league champion] North Marion has a bunch of transfers, so they could figure in the mix. I don't know about Madras. They had a good run in 5A last year, but they lost a couple of studs and it looks like they've gotten pounded a couple of times [this spring].'

The Gladiators entertain Tillamook in a nonleague game this Thursday.

They host Estacada next Tuesday in their Tri-Valley Conference opener.

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