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...
If North Medford head softball coach Mike Mayben had it his way, the words "rain" and "Roseburg" would likely never be uttered in the same sentence.
Last year, his team began a conference contest against the Indians on a Saturday in Medford before rain forced it to be postponed in the fifth inning. The scoreless game resumed from the same point in Roseburg two days later, and the Black Tornado ultimately lost 1-0.
"That was not a good memory," Mayben said.
But Tuesday brought salvation — along with buckets of the wet stuff — for Mayben and North.
The Black Tornado walked away a drenched winner this time.
Junior pitcher Maryssa Becker composed a no-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and North turned in 10 hits — including four in its three-run first inning — en route to a soggy 8-0 win over Roseburg at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
The cold Southern Oregon Hybrid contest was called in the fifth inning. The game saw a lengthy rain delay in the bottom of the fifth, and officials ended it several minutes and two batters later.
"It's in the books," a pleased Mayben said.
North was as relentless as the rain.
Becker hit an RBI double, Katie Williamson a run-scoring single and Sierra Berryessa an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning to put the Black Tornado (8-1, 2-0 SOH) ahead 3-0 and force Roseburg starting pitcher Makinna Akers out of the game.
"I liked the tempo the kids came out with," Mayben said. "We understood this is a good Roseburg team that could be a first-place team in our conference. We knew they had just beat South Medford 11-1 (on Monday) and they had some confidence and we wanted to take that away early in the game."
Hannah Leming made it 5-0 an inning later with a two-run triple that scored courtesy runner Maddie Gates and Grace Jovanovic, who got on base with a perfectly placed bunt single. Becker's sacrifice fly drove in Leming and gave North a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
Becker's second double of the game led to courtesy runner Rachel Arappagis coming home on a Roseburg throwing error in the fourth inning.
Michelle Draper rounded out the scoring in the fifth with an RBI double, which plated Berryessa.
Draper was 2-for-2 and Becker and Jovanovic both finished 2-for-3 against the Indians (4-4, 1-1 SOH).
Becker improved to 5-0 with a supporting cast that played error-free. The Louisville commit was dominant, going three up and three down in every inning besides the second, when she hit Jacey Conklin with a pitch.
"I just wanted to keep the ball down and make them hit the pitch that I wanted to hit, and my defense just always has my back," said Becker, who did not allow any walks. "And I know they will make the play even if I miss the pitch. Me and (catcher) Katie (Williamson) were working today. Everything felt great."
Said Roseburg head coach Tony Campos of Becker: "Maryssa is a good pitcher. When she gets ahead in the count she's gonna make a lot of these kids chase and that's exactly what she did. She's a Division I pitcher and when you are facing some of the hitters that we have at this level she's gonna dominate."
Roseburg 000 00 — 0 0 2
North Medford 330 11 — 8 10 0
Becker and Williamson; Akers, Rhines (1), Akers (3) and Conklin, Delcollo (3). W — Becker (5-0). L — Akers (3-2). 2B — NM: Ellis, Becker 2, Draper. 3B — NM: Leming.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org