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KLAMATH FALLS — Clutch hits by Joe Wardle and Gregory Hurd keyed Hidden Valley's four-run outburst in the top of the seventh and the Mustangs narrowly avoided disaster in the bottom of the inning to beat Skyline Conference rival Henley 5-4 Tuesday in a wild Class 4A state baseball semifinal.
The victory earns the sixth-seeded and 15th-ranked Mustangs (17-6) a spot in the championship game for the first time in school history. Hidden Valley, which finished third in the Skyline, will face top-ranked Ontario (20-7) on Saturday at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer. Ontario beat North Valley, another Skyline Conference team, 6-2 in the other semifinal.
Wardle and Hurd each came through with two-run singles to help the Mustangs open up a 5-1 lead in the seventh. That proved to be just enough after Henley scored four runs of its own, all with two outs, and had the tying run on first base when Hurd struck out Henley No. 3 hitter Jon Guzman to end the game.
Hurd went the distance on the mound, striking out five while allowing four runs on six hits to improve to 11-0. Henley starter Jesse Hilyard surrendered three runs on six hits and two walks in 61/3 innings before giving way to Guzman, who gave up two runs on three hits in the final two-thirds of the inning.
Hurd was 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs, Wardle was 1-for-2 with three RBIs and Kody Garrison was 2-for-3 with two runs.
Hidden Valley 000 010 4 — 5 9 1
Henley 000 000 4 — 4 6 3
Hurd and Ko. Garrison; Hilyard, Guzman (7) and Overstreet. W — Hurd (11-0). L — Hilyard. 2B — H: Seater. 3B — H: Dykstra.
ONTARIO 6, NORTH VALLEY 2 — At Grants Pass, Brady Baker hit a grand slam to help lift top-seeded Ontario into the Class 4A state championship game.
The Tigers (20-7) will play Hidden Valley (17-6) at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer on Saturday.
Baker's home run came in the top of the third inning with his team trailing 2-0. He finished 2-for-2 and teammate Aaron Alexander bashed two doubles.
Jake Herklotz allowed three hits, struck out six and stranded six runners on base in 41/3 innings of relief pitching for the Knights (21-6), who set a school record for wins in a season.
Ontario 004 020 0 — 6 7 1
North Valley 110 000 0 — 2 5 2
T. Alexander and Machuca; Garmendia, Herklotz (3) and Schmoll. W — T. Alexander. L — Garmendia. 2B — O: A. Alexander 2; NV: Parker, Cowell. HR — O: Baker.