A funny thing happened to Terry Rasmussen on his way toward retirement as a basketball coach.
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North Medford's first chance to show its blend of veteran players and newcomers vying to defend last year's Class 6A softball state championship proved to be a rousing success Thursday at North Medford High.
Black Tornado senior standout Maryssa Becker fell one single shy of hitting for the cycle and North Medford opened an 8-0 lead through two innings en route to a 12-2, five-inning win over Henley.
"It was a good start to the season," said North Medford head coach Mike Mayben. "We're really just trying to focus on improving all the time because this is a new group for us."
Becker, last year's Gatorade player of the year for Oregon, led the charge by going 3-for-4 with four RBIs. The senior belted a double, triple and home run but missed out on her only other chance to complete the cycle. Becker also earned the pitching victory, allowing one earned run with six strikeouts, two walks and two hits in three innings.
Joci Ellis chipped in by going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and Maddie Gates was 2-for-3 with one RBI.
Among the newcomers, junior Alexis Barkwell was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and the transfer from San Diego pitched the final two innings with one earned run, four hits and two strikeouts. Katie Ramsay, a junior transfer from South Medford, was 1-for-2 with one RBI.
"We hit the ball really well tonight and both Maryssa and Alex threw the ball well," added Mayben.
Tara Moates plated both runs for Henley, blasting an RBI double in the third and a solo homer in the fifth.
Henley 001 01 — 2 6 2
North Medford 531 3x — 12 12 0
Scott and Herr; Becker, Barkwell (4) and Williamson, Ramsay (4). W — Becker (1-0). L — Scott. 2B — H: Moates; NM: Becker, Barkwell. 3B — NM: Becker. HR — H: Moates; NM: Becker (1).
EAGLE POINT 17, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 0, 5 inn. — Mckinzee Merrill struck out nine and walked none in a one-hit effort and was 2-for-4 with three RBIs to help lead Eagle Point at U.S. Cellular.
Emily Jeffries supplied an inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning for the Eagles (2-0), who opened a 9-0 lead through one inning. Paige Leeper was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Teanna Gonsalves was 2-for-5 for EP.
Cascade Christian got a second-inning single from Tiani Alvarez to pace the Challengers (0-2).
Eagle Point 902 51 — 17 12 3
Cascade Christian 000 00 — 0 1 2
Merrill and B. Shopp; M. Smith, K. Smith (2) and Ratcliff. W — Merrill (2-0). L — M. Smith (0-1). 2B — EP: Leeper, Merrill. 3B — EP: Leeper. HR — EP: E. Jeffries (1).
ASHLAND 22, ILLINOIS VALLEY 3, 5 inn. — At Ashland, sophomore Teresa Lehman went 5-for-5 with a home run, a triple and plated five runs to power Ashland's 17-hit attack in its home opener at North Mountain Park.
Hannah Thornton went 4-for-5 with a triple, four RBIs and four runs and leadoff batter Christina Kuykendall was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs as Ashland's top three batters combined for 12 hits.
Lehman hit a home run and a triple in the first inning, when the Grizzlies (1-1) sent 18 batters to the plate and scored 12 runs.
Illinois Valley 003 00 — 3 1 7
Ashland (12)61 3x — 22 17 3
Miller and Engles; Howson and Corey. W — Howson (1-0). L — Miller. 2B — A: Howson. 3B — A: Lehman, Thornton. HR — A: Lehman.
PHOENIX 13, GLIDE 0, 5 inn. — At Glide, Meranda Zanni powered Phoenix's 16-hit attack with a three-run homer and also pitched a five-inning shutout.
Zanni went 3-for-4 with six RBIs and struck out 10 in the circle without a walk for the Pirates (2-0).
Also for Phoenix, Amanda Skaff went 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, Delanie Tally was 3-for-3 with three runs and an RBI and Bailee Tally went 2-for-3 with a triple and three runs.
Phoenix 103 45 — 13 16 0
Glide 000 00 — 0 2 0
Zanni and Hamilton; Graham, Moyers (5) and Hatley. W — Zanni (2-0). L — Graham. 2B — P: Scoggins, Toney. 3B — P: B. Tally. HR — P: Zanni (1).
PROSPECT 17, DAYS CREEK 2, 5 inn. — At Prospect, Heather Lass and Shawn Creech each had two hits for Prospect in the nonconference season opener.
Lass rapped two doubles and Creech added a triple. The Cougars scored eight runs in the third inning and seven in the fourth.
Prospect pitcher Miranda Hedgpeth allowed two hits, fanned four and walked one in the complete-game effort.
Days Creek 010 01 — 2 2 7
Prospect 208 7x — 17 7 2
C. Depew and Pickett; M. Hedgpeth and Coble. W — Hedgpeth (1-0). L — Depew. 2B — P: Lass 2, Hobbs. 3B — P: Creech.