Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
North Medford was itching to get back on the field Tuesday after suffering its first softball loss of the season a day prior during the first day of action at the 35-team North Medford Invitational at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Aiming to make a better impression, the Black Tornado did just that on Day 2 with a pair of dominant victories, 14-2 over Sprague in five innings and 5-0 over Glencoe, in cold, windy conditions.
"I think there was some feeling of pressure so actually I think (Monday's) loss was good for us," said North Medford head coach Mike Mayben. "First of all it teaches you that there are a lot of quality teams out there and we intentionally scheduled four really good opponents for this tournament, and Southridge beat us with good pitching and defense. To turn around and play pretty much error-free ball and pitch and hit the ball way we can made a tremendous difference today."
In Tuesday's opener against Sprague, North Medford scored three runs in the first and four more in the second to take a commanding lead. The Black Tornado (7-1) was up 10-0 when junior left fielder Michelle Draper came off the bench to provide the game's highlight with a grand slam in the seven-run fourth inning.
"She hits the ball hard, she always has," said Mayben of Draper, who has shared starting duties with senior Marissa Gann. "She came in and did a nice job; she hit the ball extremely hard today."
Draper finished 2-for-2 with four RBIs, while Katie Williamson helped spark the earlier outburst by going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Hannah Leming (1-for-2, three runs), Joci Ellis (2-for-3, three runs) and Sierra Berryessa (2-for-4, one run, one RBI).
Junior pitcher Maryssa Becker earned the victory in both games Tuesday, tossing a two-hitter with five strikeouts and four walks against Sprague and allowing four hits with 12 strikeouts and three walks against Glencoe. Becker saw the pitching duties in both games as a means to give senior Kelsie Bartley some rest after throwing with a sore shoulder Monday against Southridge.
"We talked about it and decided it was best to let it rest," said Mayben. "The first game wasn't typical to how Maryssa throws but as far as just her command and the way she threw, the second game was a lot more like Maryssa."
Bartley blasted a two-run homer in the third inning of Game 2 to push North Medford's lead up to 5-0 on Glencoe. Leming had reached on a leadoff double and eventually scored on the two-out blast.
Leming finished 2-for-3 with two runs and Bartley, who also had a sacrifice fly, was 1-for-2 with three RBIs. Grace Jovanovic also went 2-for-2 with one RBI.
North Medford 340 70 — 14 12 0
Sprague 000 02 — 2 2 3
Becker and Williamson; Leach, Murrell (4) and Isham. W — Becker (3-0). L — Leach. HR — NM: Draper (1).
Glencoe 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
North Medford 212 000 x — 5 8 0
Eastman and Surratt; Becker and Williamson. W — Becker (4-0). L — Eastman. 2B — G: Clayton; NM: Leming 2, Gann, Williamson. HR — NM: Bartley (1).
CRATER DROPS PAIR — Crater couldn't hold an early lead and dropped a 6-5 decision to South Salem, then got overwhelmed 15-3 in five innings by Thurston.
Kassi Murphy's two-run single helped the Comets (1-6) take a 4-2, first-inning lead against South Salem.
Kelsie Gardner had three hits, including two home runs, and four RBIs to help rally the Saxons.
Rachel Ray and Malorie Mitchell had two hits each for Crater.
Against Thurston, Sierra Eld provided a two-run single as Crater scored three runs in the third.
Lynzee Halcott highlighted a nine-run fourth with a grand slam for the Colts.
South Salem 220 200 0 — 6 9 3
Crater 400 001 0 — 5 7 2
Donovan and Bliss; Sheperd, Murphy (4) and Medina. W — Donovan. L — Sheperd (0-1). 2B — SS: Gardner, Kelsie, Coates 2; C: Ray. HR — SS: Gardner 2.
Crater 000 30 — 3 3 2
Thurston 051 9x — 15 6 1
Murphy, Sheperd (4) and Medina; Stedman and Furlong. W — Stedman. L — Murphy (1-5). 2B — C: Rohde. 3B — T: Boyd. HR — T: Halcott.
SOUTH MEDFORD SWEPT — South Medford managed just two total hits as the Panthers lost 9-2 to Southridge and 10-0 to McNary in five innings.
Ricki Tacdol hit an RBI double in the sixth inning for the Panthers (1-4) against Southridge (4-3).
Megan Ulrey pitched a five-inning no-hitter for McNary (6-0).
Southridge 101 402 1 — 9 13 1
South Medford 010 001 0 — 2 2 4
Spencer and Herman; Nunez, Moore (6) and Ramsay. W — Spencer. L — Nunez (1-3). 2B — S: Nelson, Kaster, Spencer 2; SM: Tacdol.
South Medford 000 00 — 0 0 0
McNary 420 4x — 10 4 1
Ulrey and Villareall; Moore, Newman (5) and Ramsay. W — Ulrey. L — Moore (0-1). 2B — M: Decker.
GRANTS PASS SPLITS — At Grants Pass, Lexi Pittman hit a walk-off home run and Rashaun Sells finished 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a run for Grants Pass in a 6-4 win over Aloha at Grants Pass High.
Earlier, Tualatin beat the Cavers 19-7 in five innings.
Pittman, a sophomore center fielder who finished with two hits, connected on her game-winner with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Amy Robinson picked up the win, striking out four and allowing four hits, three earned runs and a walk.
Lizzy Merritt finished with two hits and two RBIs, Anna Coveney recorded a pair of hits and Taylor Thomas added a two-run single in the second inning against Aloha (4-4).
Grants Pass (3-5) finished the day with 13 errors, including nine against Tualatin (5-1).
Tualatin 362 44 — 19 15 0
Grants Pass 140 11 — 7 9 9
Kaplah and Gravel; Thomas, Coveney (3) and Merritt. W — Kaplah. L — Thomas (0-1). 2B — T: Gravel; GP: Ridenour. 3B — T: Valero.