Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
CENTRAL POINT — One little slip on the grass and an ensuing slip-up on a pitch to Sheldon's Mike Ralston proved costly for the Crater baseball team Tuesday at Anhorn Field.
The host Comets held a 3-1 advantage in the sixth inning but all that turned around in a heartbeat as the Irish rallied for a 6-3 victory behind a five-run surge that included a three-run double by Ralston.
Sheldon put runners on the corners with one out in the top of the sixth when Crater brought in relief pitcher Blake Fahndrich for Nolan Bastendorff. Sheldon's next batter then bunted back toward the mound but Fahndrich slipped on the wet grass, loading the bases. Ralston, a powerful 6-foot-6 left-hander, then cleared the bases with his double.
"They've got 13 seniors and are a veteran group," said Crater head coach Jay Campbell of Sheldon. "If you leave the door open a little bit, they're going to walk right through. It was a good high school baseball game, though."
Ralston, who has signed to play football at Montana, finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Sheldon's other big-time lefty, 6-4 Brett Nielsen, was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Mitchell Herbert also went 3-for-3 for the Irish (3-0).
Crater scored the first three runs of the game off Nielsen, who is a top pitching prospect, as Paul Turner went 2-for-2 with one RBI and Ty Fox finished 2-for-3 for the Comets (1-1).
Sheldon 001 005 0 — 6 10 2
Crater 210 000 0 — 3 7 2
Nielsen, Tokatly (5), Alie (6) and McDaniel; Bastendorff, Fahndrich (6) and Aplin. W — Alie. L — Fahndrich (1-1). 2B — S: Ralston, Nielsen.
SOUTH MEDFORD 18-0, REDMOND 17-1 — South Medford won a wild first game in the nonconference twin bill and improved to 4-0.
In the opener, the Panthers scored at least four runs in four separate innings, including the sixth, when they took an 18-14 lead.
A couple of hit batsmen and a walk loaded the bases, then South scored three runs on a Brandon Lupton sacrifice fly, a Pat Alexander single and a Nate Walker sacrifice fly. On Walker's play, Redmond tried to get Alexander at second base, but the ball was thrown into the outfield and he scored.
Redmond, helped by two of South's nine errors, answered with three runs in the seventh before a bases-loaded flyout ended the game.
Alexander was 3-for-3 with five runs and four RBIs; Walker had two hits, five RBIs and two runs; Forrest Pierson and Caleb Bell had two hits each and Brady Breeze two RBIs.
In Game 2, Lupton pitched a five-hitter, striking out seven and walking three. He also was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs. South's Jimmy Sporer was 3-for-3 with three runs, Alexander was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Austin White 2-for-3 with two runs.
Redmond 003 056 3 — 17 14 1
South Medford 454 014 x — 18 11 9
Lash, Aas (2), Ontjes (5), Smith (6) and Payne; Cooney, Carle (5), Newman (6) and White. W — Newman (2-0). L — Smith. 2B — R: Ontjes, Payne; SM: Walker. 3B — R: Abbas. HR — SM: Walker (1).
Redmond 000 001 0 — 1 5 2
South Medford 222 031 x — 10 13 0
Smith, Peplin (4) and Payne; Lupton and White. W — Lupton (1-0). L — Smith. 2B — R: Abbas; SM: Lupton 2, Alexander.
GRANTS PASS 7, ASHLAND 2 — At Ashland, Grants Pass starting pitcher Chris Ingledue held the Grizzlies to two runs on four hits in six innings and the Cavemen took advantage of five Ashland errors in the nonleague game.
Pitching on four days rest, Ingledue struck out three and walked two to drop the Grizzlies to 0-4.
Ashland sophomore Steen Fredrickson went 2-for-3 with a two-run double that accounted for the Grizzlies' only runs of the game.
Ashland pitcher Jack Carroll surrendered seven runs — five earned — on 10 hits in five innings to fall to 0-1.
Grants Pass improved to 2-1.
Grants Pass 103 120 0 — 7 12 2
Ashland 000 002 0 — 2 5 5
Ingledue, Ekwall (7) and Leenknecht; Carroll, Glick (6) and Glick, N. Scott (6). W — Ingledue. L — Carroll (0-1). 2B — GP: Leenknecht; A: Fredrickson. 3B — GP: VanEss.
NORTH VALLEY 11, ILLINOIS VALLEY 1, 5 inn. — At Grants Pass, Kevin Olmstead pitched a one-hitter and struck out nine for North Valley in the nonconference game at Legion Field.
Josh Cowell and Marco Garmendia were each 3-for-4 for the Knights (3-1). Cowell scored three runs and Garmendia drove in two. Stephen Parker was 2-for-3.
Illinois Valley 001 00 — 1 1 3
North Valley 130 61 — 11 11 0
LaFlamme, Miller (4) and Miller, Howell (4); Olmstead and Dupont. W — Olmstead (1-0). L — LaFlamme. 2B — IV: Davis; HV: Cowell 2.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 13, HIDDEN VALLEY 11 — At Grants Pass, Kyle Ferguson, Cody Coggins, Isaiah Luzny and Jordan Ragan each drove in two runs to lead Cascade Christian to the nonleague win.
Coggins and Luzny each went 4-for-5, while Ferguson was 3-for-4 and Tim Martin went 2-for-3 for the Challengers (3-1). Cascade Christian broke the game open with a seven-run sixth inning that was extended by a pair of Hidden Valley errors.
For the Mustangs (3-1), Cody Garrison was 3-for-5 while Tyler Gulbransen and Tyler Campbell each added two hits. Hidden Valley worked the bases loaded with one run in during its final at-bat before Luzny recorded a game-ending strikeout.
Cascade Christian 011 307 1 — 13 16 4
Hidden Valley 214 102 1 — 11 12 4
Dusenbury, Ferguson (4), Ragan (6), Luzny (7) and Clark, Coggins (6); Garrison, Chastain (5), Campbell (7) and Hults. W — Ragan (1-0). L — Chastain (0-1). 2B — CC: Luzny, Coggins; HV: Gulbransen, Garrison 2, Hults.
ST. MARY'S 11-9, WEED, Calif., 2-3 — St. Mary's recorded 19 stolen bases in the home nonconference doubleheader.
In the opener, Daniel Seus singled to lead off the bottom of the first and stole second, third and home. Seus finished with two hits, two RBIs and scored twice.
Ryan Ross went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs for St. Mary's (5-1). Ross tripled with the bases loaded in the third to break a 2-all tie.
Crusader pitcher Joe Hammond went five innings, allowing three hits with five strikeouts. Jake Isola didn't give up a hit in two shutout innings of relief.
Isola sparked the Crusaders in Game 2 with two walks, three RBIs and two runs.
St. Mary's starter Christian Aviles (1-0) surrendered three hits and three runs in five innings and struck out four. Seus closed out the game with five strikeouts in two perfect innings.
Weed 020 000 0 — 2 3 5
St. Mary's 113 510 x — 11 11 4
Hagarty and Sanchez; Hammond, Isola (6) and Seus. W — Hammond (1-0). L — Hagarty. 2B — W: Hagarty, Pimentel; SM: Seus. 3B — SM: Ross
Weed 102 000 0 — 3 3 2
St. Mary's 230 031 x — 9 6 1
Brunello, Pimentel (3), Haosophenth (5) and Perry; Aviles, Seus (6) and Seus, Aviles (6). W — Aviles (1-0). L — Brunello.