The game's only runs score on a wild pitch and a passed ball

A wild pitch and a passed ball proved the difference, as two of the state’s top Class 4A high school softball teams battled tooth and nail on April 22.

Gladstone ended up victorious, winning 2-0 over cross-town rival La Salle — with senior Julia Schumaker scoring on a wild pitch with two down in the third frame, and senior Megan Kirchem scoring on a passed ball with two down in the sixth.

The game was a pitcher’s dual. Gladstone pitcher Megan Kirchem fanned 18 batters, walked no one and hit one batter in a two-hitter.

La Salle pitcher Loryn Williams fanned 10 and walked one in a four-hitter. Only one of Gladstone’s two runs was earned.

Schumaker (2-for-3) reached with two down in the third on a base hit, stole second, and moved to third on a slap-bunt single by Kirchem. Schumaker then scored the game-winner on a wild pitch.

Kirchem reached in the sixth on a dropped third strike and moved all the way to third when La Salle’s catcher overthrew second base when Kirchem was stealing. Two outs later, Kirchem raced home on a passed ball, upping the Gladiator lead to 2-0.

La Salle threatened to score twice, advancing runners to third base in the fourth and sixth frames, only to have Kirchem end the threats.

La Salle sophomore Nicole Schreiber doubled off the wall in left-center with one down in the top of the fourth. Schreiber advanced to third on a passed ball, but Kirchem struck out the next two batters to retire the side.

La Salle junior Makenzie Cook singled with one down in the sixth, and she stole all the way to third base when a pickoff attempt sailed past Gladstone’s first baseman. Kirchem also ended that threat with two strikeouts.

The Falcons went quietly in the top of the seventh, with Kirchem retiring the side with three strikeouts on nine pitches.

“It was a tough game, a pitchers’ duel,” said Gladstone coach Bruce Mortier. “Both pitchers were excellent. We had a couple of breaks go our way and we capitalized, and scored.”

Mortier added, “La Salle is a very good ball club. They are well coached, they make very few errors and they play hard.”

“To me, that’s what high school fastpitch softball is all about,” said La Salle coach Walt Stockfleth. “Two good pitchers dueling, and two good teams playing hard.... I’m looking forward to the next time we play them.”

It was La Salle’s first loss, after 11 straight victories.

The Gladiators (13-1, 5-0) continued on track on April 24, putting their seventh straight game in the win column, winning 9-0 at Estacada.

Kirchem (15 strikeouts, no walks) came within one pitch of a perfect game.

With two down in the bottom of the seventh, Elsie Gleason blooped an 0-2 pitch to right field for the Rangers’ only hit of the game. The Gladiators then committed an error, putting Estacada runners on first and second.

The next batter flew out to Molly Webster in center field to end the game. It was the only ball that the Rangers hit out of the infield.

Kirchem also had a hot bat, going 4-for-5 at the plate and scoring three times.

With the win, Kirchem improved her record to 10-1. Through play last week she had a 0.45 ERA, with 150 strikeouts and five walks allowed in 77 innings.

The Gladiators sport a .304 team batting average on the season, led by Schumaker (.489) and Kirchem (.447).

Gladstone has a home game with Estacada (3-12, 0-5) this afternoon, and the Gladiators play La Salle on the road on Friday.

The Falcons (12-4, 4-1) didn’t waste any time taking charge in an April 21 rain-shortened game with Estacada, putting five runs on the scoreboard in the first inning en route to a 6-1 five-inning victory.

Junior infielder Shannon Stockfleth and senior infielder Sydney Chvilicek lighted the fire in the big first inning, Stockfleth with a three-run home run and Chvilicek with a run-scoring double. It was the first round-tripper of her high school career for Stockfleth.

Junior shortstop MaKenzie Cook (2-for-2) had a good day at the plate, pounding out a double and a single, scoring twice and stealing two bases.

Williams struck out seven and allowed one hit in three innings in the circle. Freshman reliever Emily Goodman fanned two, while allowing one hit and one earned run.

La Salle plays Molalla (2-10, 1-3) in a home game this afternoon.

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