For a seeding game, it wasn’t that bad. And it’s true what they say – the last three outs are the toughest.

The Gladstone Gladiators – one strike away from a convincing 10-1 win over Dane Gouge’s Astoria Ford baseball team – had to settle for a not-so-convincing 10-5 win over the Fishermen, Saturday night at Aiken Field.

As it is, both teams were guaranteed a spot in the upcoming Junior State Baseball state tournament, which begins Thursday at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

Astoria Ford will be chasing its fourth state summer title since 2006. The Fishermen won Junior State championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Astoria’s first-round opponent (5 p.m. Thursday) will be Thurston, which won Junior State titles in 2008 and 2010. Thursday’s winner will play the winner of Sprague vs. South Salem or Summitt.

In Saturday night’s seeding game, the Gladiators and starting pitcher Austin Krieger were cruising through six innings.

Krieger had allowed just one walk and one hit (a Chris Leonardi infield single in the fourth inning), and the Fishermen went into their last at-bat trailing 10-0.

Carter Wallace started the Astoria rally with a leadoff double, and scored one out later on a single by Manny Nelson.

Krieger struck out the next batter for the second out, but the next four Astoria batters reached base safely.

Courtesy runner Chris Williams scored on a single from Ole Englund, Cade O’Brien sprinted home on a wild pitch, and Kyle Strange reached on a single up the middle.

Englund and Kyle Strange both scored on a double to the fence by Nick Strange, cutting Gladstone’s lead in half.

The Gladiators finally stopped the rally, when a line drive off the bat of Joe Brawley was caught by the Gladstone third baseman.

Before coming out of the game in the seventh, Krieger allowed four hits with nine strikeouts and two walks.

Gladstone had 12 hits (all singles), including a 4-for-4 effort by Mitchell Foeller, and 3-for-4 by A.J. Swalko.


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