Madras silences Gladstones bats in a 3-0 victory

Flying high after a 12-0 start to the 2013 high school softball season, the Gladstone Gladiators were brought back down to earth on Friday, as they got shut out by Tri-Valley Conference rival Madras, 3-0.

The game, played at Madras, was an intense battle from start to finish. Madras went up 1-0 in the third stanza, when the White Buffaloes strung two hits together. And they stretched the advantage to 3-0 in the fifth frame, when they scored two unearned runs on two hits and an error.

Gladstone’s only scoring threat came in the top of the seventh. Freshman outfielder Kat Kerr (2-for-3) started out the inning with a lead-off double; sophomore Melisa Campos reached on an error with two down, advancing Kerr to third; and freshman outfielder Kennedy Coy grounded out to second to end the inning and the game.

“I’m proud of the girls for not giving up and fighting back at the end,” said Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier. “But we made a mental error and a physical error that were costly. And you can’t do that against a good team like Madras and expect to win....

“Still, I’ve got to give Madras credit. They played great. We hit the ball hard, but they made every play.”

Madras senior pitcher Jamie Moe struck out six Gladstone batters and walked one, while allowing just four hits.

Gladstone pitcher Megan Kirchem struck out seven, walked no one and allowed five hits.

“The girls are disappointed they didn’t win,” Mortier said. “But they’re realistic. They realize there are very few teams out there that are going to go 26-0, or 29-0. I think they’ll come back and refocus and work even harder in practice.”

Mortier added, “Madras is a very good team. Between them and Newport, they’re the two best teams we’ve played this year.”

Madras (10-3, 2-0) and Gladstone (12-1, 1-1) finished last week ranked first and second in the state in the OSAA Class 4A power rankings.

Before Friday’s lost, Gladstone was the only Class 6A, 5A or 4A softball team in the state undefeated on the 2013 season.

Gladstone and junior pitcher Nena Dudley were impressive on April 2, as the Gladiators kicked off their 2013 TVC season with a 26-0 shellacking of Estacada. It was the second perfect game of the season and the third of her high school career for Dudley (6-0 on the 2013 season).

Dudley struck out 13 of the 15 Estacada batters to face her in the five-inning game, and no Estacada batter reached base. She threw only 56 pitches, 46 of them strikes.

“Nena had a tremendous game,” Mortier said. “They couldn’t catch up to her fastball.”

The Rangers put only two balls in play. In the first inning, an Estacada batter grounded out to first base. And in the third, third baseman Melisa Campos fielded a bunt and fired to first baseman Meghan Winkle in time for the out at first.

Last week’s perfect game followed on the heels of a March 26 10-0 six-inning win over Sutherlin, in which Dudley struck out 13 of 18 batters and didn’t allow a baserunner. She also had a perfect game in a 15-0 five-inning rout of Estacada a year ago.

The Gladiators had 17 hits and they walked 13 times in last week’s rout of the Rangers. Heading up the offensive attack were Dudley (4-for-5, double, triple, 4 runs scored), Ashlee Muller (two home runs, 6 RBI, 3 runs), Julia Schumaker (3-for-5, double, 4 runs), Megan Kirchem (2-for-4, 4 RBI, 3 runs) and Winkle (2-for-2, double, 3 RBI, 3 runs).

In upcoming games, the Gladiators (12-1, 1-1) entertain North Marion (8-4, 0-2) today at 4:30 p.m., play 14th-ranked La Salle (5-3, 1-1) on the road on Friday, and entertain seventh-ranked Molalla (6-3, 1-0) next Monday.

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