The freshman outfielder hits a grandslam home run in a 4-1 Gladiator win at North Marion

by: SUBMITTED - Gladstone freshman Kinzi McLeod hit a grandslam home run in the top of the third inning to lead Gladstone to victory in a 4-1 win at North Marion.Freshman outfielder Kinzi McLeod earned heroine honors last week, as the Gladstone Gladiators continued as one of the top high school softball teams in the state, defeating North Marion 4-1 on the road.

McLeod stepped to the plate with two down and the bases loaded in the top of the third and hit the first pitch over the fence in left-center field for a grand-slam home run, scoring all four of Gladstone’s runs.

“It was a no doubter,” said Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier. “You knew it was going out right away, it was just a matter of how far.”

It was the second home run of the year for McLeod, who starts in left field.

“We’ve got two freshmen starting in the outfield,” said Mortier. “They’re both good hitters and hard workers.”

The other freshman starter is right fielder Madi Mott.

Had it not been for Gladstone senior first baseman Meghan Winkle, McLeod’s grandslam would not have happened, and the Gladiators might have lost the game.

Facing an 0-2 count with two down in the third, Winkle battled and earned a full-count walk, setting the stage for McLeod’s two-out grandslam.

Sophomore Kennedy Coy and senior Megan Kirchem got things started in the third with base hits. But Coy was tagged out at home when Mott reached on a fielder’s choice, for the second out of the inning. Winkle drew her full-count walk, and McLeod followed with her four-run game-winner.

North Marion’s lone run was scored in the bottom of the fifth, when the Huskies strung together a triple and a double.

Kirchem pitched a complete game, striking out 15, including the final batter of the fifth inning. The Huskies reached the Gladiator ace for five hits and one walk. Kirchem was supported by error-free defensive play.

Kirchem (2-for-3) was the only Gladiator with more than one hit.

With the win, the Gladiators improved to 11-1 on the 2014 season, and 3-0 in Tri-Valley Conference play.

The Gladiators play Estacada on the road on April 24 and they travel to Madras on April 28, before returning home next Wednesday (April 30) for a rematch with North Marion.

Through play last week, Kirchem had a 0.56 ERA, with 117 strikeouts and only five walks allowed in 63 innings.

The Gladiators sported a .310 team batting average, led by seniors Julia Schumaker (.475), Kirchem (.410), Winkle (.367) and Coy (.333).

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