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The Braves hold Gladstone to just two hits in their Friday game at Ron Tonkin Field.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Banks sophomore shortstop Wyatt Hesselman leaps to corral down a throw during his team's 6-1 win over Gladstone at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro on Friday, March 25. The Banks baseball team came in hot.

Gladstone did, too.

That meant that something in this matchup of top-seven teams had to give.

On this day, it was the Gladiator offense that fell short, managing just two hits and a single run in a 6-1 loss to the Braves at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro.

"We were expecting them to be able to hit the ball and touch the fastball, but they couldn't, really," said Banks junior Logan Kind, who pitched his team into the sixth inning, allowing one run on two hits and two walks while striking out six. He also went 3 for 4 at the plate with a homer, a double and four RBIs. "I was definitely nervous at first, but after I got that first out, I was in a groove the whole time."

"I felt like in the third inning, we were (hitting the ball hard). We had one deep to center and another over second base — hard line drives," said senior left fielder Colton Hesselman, who went 2 for 4 at the plate and scored twice. "Then in the fifth inning, we kind of just broke through and got a couple runs and just kept adding on to the hitting."

With the win, the Braves' third straight, No. 4 Banks improved to 4-1 in non-league play. No. 7 Gladstone, meanwhile, lost for the second time after opening the year with four straight wins, and fell to 4-2 overall.

While Gladstone played four games in the past three days, the Gladiators were in no mood for excuses after their Friday loss.

"We played multiple games in the last four days and some of us were tired, but I don't find that an excuse for our effort today," said Gladstone senior left fielder Charlie Pease, who doubled and went 1 for 3 at the plate. "But I think we'll come back (next week) and I think we'll show them what's up."

"It doesn't matter if we played five games in one day, we've got to be prepared to play the next game at all times," added senior catcher Garrett Finch, who walked twice and added one RBI.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Gladstone senior catcher Garrett Finch connects during his team's 6-1 loss to Banks at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro on Friday, March 25. Banks stepped up to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore Wyatt Hesselman led off with a single to left, took third on Colton Hesselman's hit to right and scored when Kind grounded out to first.

Kind escaped trouble in both the second and third innings, with Finch walking and stealing a base with one out in the second before being stranded, and Pease clubbing a two-out double to center in the third before junior Ben Hoffman's line drive to left field was stolen by Colton Hesselman's diving catch.

The Braves then tacked on two runs in the bottom of the third, starting with a double down the third-base line by sophomore Justin Walters, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly from Wyatt Hesselman. Then, with two outs, Colton Hesselman doubled to right, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Kind's double to make it 3-0.

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings — Gladstone sophomore starter Isiah Conner escaped a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth, and Gladiator sophomore reliever Payne Bowen stranded two runners in the fifth — the Gladstone offense finally broke through.

In the top of the sixth, junior Ben Hoffman hit a two-out single up the middle, then scored when Banks issued consecutive walks to junior Brayde Owen, junior Hayden Smith and Finch — the final two by Wyatt Hesselman in relief of Kind.

Undaunted, the Braves' offense came back with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game on ice, getting the first run on a single, a walk and a Gladstone throwing error, and the final two when Kind homered over the right field fence.

"My thought process was I was going to bat flip, but I didn't want (the ball) to not go out and then bat flip. That would be a little tough," Kind joked. "But it was just great. It came off the bat real nice."

For their part, the Gladiators promised to come back strong from the loss.

"We played pretty decent," Pease said. "It wasn't the best, but I'm very excited for what's yet to come. … We can hit well, and we practice it quite a bit, but I think if we really get the bats down, we'll definitely go far."

For Banks, Wyatt Hesselman went 2 for 3 at the plate with two runs scored and one RBI. For Gladstone, sophomore Brandon Dees picked up the Glads' other hit and went 1 for 3.

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