Estacada gets huge upset over Gladstone
All season long, Estacada had been searching for a signature victory. And in their last game of the regular season, the Rangers got just that.
Senior pitcher Wyatt Riedel — in his final home game in a Estacada uniform — pitched six scoreless inning on the bump as the Rangers gave Gladstone their first Tri-Valley Conference loss of the season, defeating the fourth-ranked Gladiators 3-2.
"We finally played up to our ability today," Riedel said. "We really worked hard with getting on the bats and playing solid defense and it all kind of came together for us."
Estacada finished in fourth place in the TVC with a record of 8-7 while Gladstone won the conference with a record of 14-1.
While Gladstone struggled to produce runs for the first time all season in league play, it sure didn't appear that would be the case after the top of the first inning.
Damian Alvarado began the game with a triple that went off the center field wall. After a free pass was issued to Matthew Lehrbach, Derek Lee and Brady Rather followed with RBI-hits to put Gladstone up 2-0 before Riedel had even recorded an out.
However, that was only time that the Gladiators could get to Estacada's star senior. With an electric fastball and curveball that always seems to keep opposing hitters off-balance, Riedel held Gladstone to just three hits for the remainder of the contest.
"We just didn't swing the bats well. Once we got up 2-0, we kind of fell asleep," Gladstone head coach Casey Webster said. "We didn't get good at-bats from a lot of our key guys…The challenge for us the last few games has been keeping guys focused even though we already had league wrapped up, but that doesn't always happen with high school kids."
Along with facing a two-run deficit, Estacada also had the daunting task of facing Gladstone's Ben McCoy on the mound — one of the best pitchers in the state at the 4A level.
McCoy was perfect through the first two innings as the top of the Estacada lineup couldn't touch the senior right-hander the first time through the order.
"(McCoy) is the pitcher of the year in our league. No question about it," Webster said. "He has been our number one guy all year."
But in the bottom of the third, it would be the bottom of the Rangers order that would do some damage. Estacada freshman shortstop Mateo Burgos got the Rangers first hit of the game with a double to the gap in left center field. Moments later, Burgos would steal third and the throw from Gladstone catcher Otis Lundgren sailed into left field, allowing Burgos to score on the play to trim the Gladiators lead to 2-1.
Look for extended coverage in the May 17 print edition.