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Philomath High’s No. 23 has been making a little noise on the baseball field this summer while striving to work himself into a major role on next season’s varsity.

Fans of Warriors’ baseball should recognize the number as worn a few years ago by center fielder Austin Gerding, one of the program’s top players over the past several years who has gone on to play at the college level. Now, his younger brother, Carson Gerding, has the uniform with the goal of following in his footsteps.

“I’ve wanted to be like him ever since I was little,” he said following Les & Bob’s 7-0 loss Wednesday night at Lebanon.

Gerding is confident in his abilities to contribute to the varsity next spring as he tries to sharpen his skills during summer ball.

“Summer’s going pretty well,” said Gerding, who played second base and pitched against Lebanon. “I’ve been striking out a little more than I want to, but I just have to listen to whatever he (Coach Levi Webber) tells me and if I do something wrong, ask him and then I fix it. Then I hit doubles or singles like I usually do.”

Gerding had one of the team’s two hits Wednesday night against Lebanon pitcher Theron Harter, who figures to be one of the 5A school’s top contributors next season. Gerding smacked a double over the left-fielder’s head to lead off the seventh inning.

“Fastball inside — that’s my favorite pitch,” Gerding said. “It’s all about the approach … and if you see a fastball, you have to hit. It’s about making adjustments.”

Logan Carter followed with a walk to give Les & Bob’s some hope that a shutout could be avoided, but the game ended with a strikeout, batter’s interference and force at third on a grounder.

Philomath’s only other hit came with two outs in the fifth on Mark Grimmer’s single to shallow center field. The team had four base runners for the game against a Lebanon pitcher that had settled into his zone.

Gerding played on Philomath’s JV this past spring and had a stellar .469 batting average with nine doubles, a home run and 30 RBIs. Webber put him on the varsity roster for the playoffs. This summer, he’s hitting .313 with three doubles and a team-high 10 RBIs.

Despite those numbers, Gerding said his biggest area of needed improvement comes at the plate.

“Yeah, I probably need to work on hitting more than anything right now,” Gerding said. “Velocity’s a big thing once you move up to varsity. With varsity-level pitchers, it definitely speeds up a lot more than JV. You just have to adjust to that.”

Gerding typically plays second base, although he’ll move over to shortstop when Cameron Ordway pitches. It’s nothing new to Gerding, who also had that type of defensive arrangement coming up through youth ball.

“When I was little, I played short a lot of the time and when on Cameron’s team, I’d go to short when Cameron pitches,” he said. “But I always pretty much grew up playing middle infield.”

Gerding said he loves pitching and against Lebanon Wednesday night, he had a productive appearance in two innings of work. Gerding faced eight batters and threw 27 pitches, allowing two hits, no runs and no walks to go along with three strikeouts. Two-thirds of his pitches went for strikes.

Adam Hernandez started for Les & Bob’s and in a three-inning performance, allowed three hits, two runs and one walk with six strikeouts. Mark Grimmer threw one inning and allowed one hit, two earned runs and five walks with one strikeout.

Les & Bob’s has lost five straight with its record going to 4-7. The team is scheduled to play Thursday at West Albany and Friday at Crescent Valley.

A tournament at Newport saw teams back out, so Les & Bob’s will play just two games on Sunday. The team plays Monday at Central and Tuesday at home against West Salem before the season ends Wednesday at home against Corvallis.


Lebanon 7, Les & Bob’s 0


Wednesday at Lebanon

Les & Bob’s

Player...AB...R...H...BI

Hernandez, p-rf...2...0...0...0

Niemann, rf...1...0...0...0

Ordway, ss...3...0...0...0

McClelland, 1b...3...0...0...0

Gerding, 2b-p...3...0...1...0

Hiner, c...2...0...0...0

Carter, c...0...0...0...0

Williams, 3b...1...0...0...0

Tutt-Lamberty, ph...1...0...0...0

Brolin, lf...2...0...0...0

Edwards, lf...1...0...0...0

Grimmer, rf-p...2...0...1...0

Russell, 2b...1...0...0...0

Blowers, cf...2...0...0...0

Total...24...0...2...0

LES & BOB’S     000   000  0 — 0 2 2

LEBANON          011  230  x — 7 6 1

DP—None. LOB—Les & Bob’s 5, Lebanon 5. 2B—Gerding.

Les & Bob’s

Player...IP...H...R...ER...BB...SO

Hernandez L...3...3...2...2...1...6

Grimmer...1...1...5...2...5...1

Gerding...2...2...0...0...0...3

Total...6...6...7...4...6...10

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