Gladstone improves to 6-0 in preseason with convincing wins over Creswell, Newport, Sutherlin and Lebanon

by: JON HOUSE - Gladstone senior Julia Schumaker has been starring with her bat as well as her glove this season. Through six games the Gladiator second baseman sported a team-leading .571 batting average, with 12 hits and 11 runs scored.Gladstone High School softball players made some noise in last week’s spring break tournament at Newport, improving their preseason record to 6-0 with wins over Creswell (8-1), Newport (4-1), Sutherlin (21-0) and Lebanon (21-0).

“Newport is a very good squad, so I was happy to get that win,” said Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier. “We played real good offense and defense, moved the runners when we needed to, and got the hits when we needed them.”

Mortier noted that Newport, like Gladstone, lost in the Class 4A semifinals a year ago.

Newport has a pitcher, senior Kristen Cochran, who will play for the University of Washington next year, but the Gladiators reached her for six hits.

Gladstone senior pitcher Megan Kirchem struck out eight Newport players, while walking one and scattering six hits. She was supported by error-free defensive play.

With the score tied at 1-1, the Gladiators put the Cubs away in the fifth frame, when they scored three runs on three hits, two walks and one error.

Kirchem got things started in the fifth when she reached on an error. Freshman Madi Mott singled and sophomore Kat Kerr walked to load the bases with one down.

Senior Meghan Winkle then plated the game-winner with a base hit to right-center. Junior Molly Webster drew a full-count walk to force in an insurance tally, and sophomore Kennedy Coy plated another insurance run with a two-out base hit to left.

Coy (2-for-2) and senior Julia Schumaker (2-for-4) led Gladstone at the plate.

Mott went the distance in the circle against Creswell, striking out 10, while giving up three hits, two walks and one earned run.

Mott also had the big stick in that game, pounding out two doubles and a single in four at bats and driving in two runs.

Freshman Kenzi McLeod went 2-for-3 at the plate.

Schumaker (4 RBI, 3 runs scored), Webster (3 runs, 2 RBI), Coy (3 runs, 2 RBI) and Winkle (2 runs) all connected for two hits in the five-inning game with Sutherlin. Eight Gladstone players together pounded out 12 hits in the 21-0 rout. Sutherlin pitchers issued 11 free passes, walking five Gladstone batters and hitting six.

Mott and freshman Carlie Brown teamed up to get the job done on the mound, combining for 10 strikeouts, while issuing three free passes.

Ten different players combined to punish the ball for 18 hits in the rout of Lebanon, while Kirchem was near-perfect on the mound.

Kirchem struck out nine batters and walked no one while throwing just 56 pitches in the five-inning game. Lebanon got just one hit, a lead-off single in the bottom of the fifth frame. Kirchem struck out the side on just 10 pitches in the third frame.

Schumaker (3-for-4, 3 runs), Kirchem (3-for-5, double, 4 RBI, 2 runs), Mott (2-for-2, triple, double, 2 RBI) and sophomore Ainslee Jordan (2-for-2) headed up the Gladiator hit parade.

The Gladiators sported an impressive .346 team battling average through their first six games. Team leaders were: Schumaker (.571, 12-for-21, 11 runs scored), Winkle (.500, 7-for-14, 10 RBI), Mott (.450, 9-for-20) and Coy (.400, 6-for-15, 8 runs).

Mott’s nine hits included three doubles and a triple; Winkle’s seven hits included two doubles and a home run.

The Gladiators return home this Friday, when they are scheduled to entertain Astoria in a double header.

Gladstone begins league play next week, hosting Estacada on Monday and Madras on Wednesday.

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