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...
Right-hander Colton Westfall was the North Medford baseball team's best defense in Thursday's nonconference matchup with Cascade Christian.
A couple of Black Tornado outfielders got into the defensive highlight reel, too.
Westfall pitched a three-hitter and David Crofton's two-run single in the sixth inning broke it open for North, which secured a 6-2 victory at North Medford High.
Just after the Challengers trimmed the Black Tornado's advantage to a run with one out in the bottom of the sixth, Brett Pearson made a stellar play in left field to prevent Cascade Christian (3-2) from doing further damage. With a man on second base, Jordan Ragan's shot was erased when Pearson beelined it to the ball and made the catch.
"It was one of the best reads I've ever seen from a high-school outfielder," North Medford coach Brett Wolfe said. "It was a game-changer and completely changed the tide of the game."
In the first inning, North's Jared Evans also disrupted the Challenger offense when he threw Isaiah Luzny out at second base as he tried to stretch a single into a double with runners in scoring position.
Westfall allowed two runs — one earned — on one walk to go with seven strikeouts.
"When he's on the mound, he's our best defense," Wolfe said. "It wasn't his best outing, but he was very poised and was able to make some big pitches in some big spots."
Crofton was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle on his 3-for-3 effort. Taylor Raff went 2-for-2 and scored twice for the Black Tornado (4-0).
Luzny was 2-for-2 and had an RBI double in the first inning for the Challengers.
Cascade Christian 100 001 0 — 2 3 1
North Medford 201 003 x — 6 7 1
Luzny, Scottow (5), Coggins (6) and Coggins, Carpenter (6); Westfall and Zavala. W — Westfall (2-0). L — Luzny. 2B — CC: Luzny; NM: Crofton. 3B — NM: Crofton, Berman.
GRANTS PASS SWEEPS — At Springfield, Grants Pass edged Springfield 5-4 and blanked Churchill 8-0 in nonleague action.
Andrew Polder threw a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and four walks against Churchill (3-1). Easton Dents finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs and Chris Leenknecht was 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Cavemen (4-1).
Against Springfield (2-3), Cameron Mathews went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Jake Stoffel was 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Winning pitcher Ben Glaeser allowed two earned runs, five hits and a walk and struck out four in five innings of relief.
Grants Pass 001 400 0 — 5 9 1
Springfield 022 000 0 — 4 6 2
Fulton, Glaeser (3), Leenknecht; Cook, Helfrich (4) and Metzler. W — Glaeser (2-0). L — Cook. 2B — GP: VanEss, Mathews.
Grants Pass 011 213 0 — 8 9 2
Churchill 000 000 0 — 0 1 3
Polder and Leenknecht; Thompson, Forrest (5), Rodriguez (7) and Barad. W — Polder (1-0). L — Thomspon. 2B — GP: Dents, Leenknecht.
ASHLAND 9, PHOENIX 2 — At Ashland, Steen Fredrickson rebounded from a shaky first inning to dominate on the mound, and Ashland's defense provided error-free support as the Grizzlies picked up their first win of the year after four previous losses at North Mountain Park.
Fredrickson allowed four hits — only two after the first inning — and struck out 11 without a walk to pick up the win. He also hit an RBI triple in the fifth as part of a five-run rally that gave Ashland a comfortable 8-2 lead.
Also for Ashland, leadoff hitter Bryce Rogan was 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs, Jamie Flynn 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI and Eric Carlson 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs.
Flynn and Carlson each provided run-scoring singles in the third, with Carlson's plating Flynn from third to give the Grizzlies the lead for good, 3-2.
Phoenix's Jordan Pond was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI to lead Phoenix (4-1), which was held to single-digit runs for the first time this season after scoring 59 runs in its first four games.
Phoenix 200 000 0 — 2 4 4
Ashland 003 051 x — 9 11 0
Hutchinson and McCreadie; Fredrickson and Glick. W — Fredrickson (1-1). L — Hutchinson. 2B — P: Pond. 3B — P: Pond; A: Rogan, Fredrickson.
ST. MARY'S 15, NORTH MEDFORD JV 10 — Dan Seus was 2-for-3 with five runs and Jake Isola finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs for St. Mary's in nonleague action at Harry & David Field.
The Crusaders (6-1), who scored six runs in the top of the first inning, recorded 18 stolen bases.
David Patstone was 4-for-5 for the North Medford junior varsity team.
St. Mary's 610 214 1 — 15 11 7
North Medford JV 200 124 1 — 10 10 3
Ross, N. Avilef (6) and Seus; Kindreich, Adams (4), Casebier (6) and McKee. W — Ross (3-0). L — Kindreich. 3B — NMJV: Patstone.
NORTH VALLEY 23, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1, 5 inn. — Mikala Mohr was 2-for-3 with four RBIs and Mikayla Dart 2-for-2 with three RBIs for North Valley in nonleague action at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Pitcher Emily Allen allowed three hits and five walks and fanned six in five innings to pick up the win for the Knights (1-3).
Madigan Smith finished 2-for-2 for Cascade Christian (1-6).
North Valley 345 47 — 23 11 0
Cascade Christian 100 00 — 1 3 4
Allen and Stark; K. Smith, M. Smith (2), Case (5), M. Smith (5) and Ratcliff. W — Allen. L — K. Smith (1-3). 2B — NV: Mohr, Kite.
ASHLAND 7, NORTH MEDFORD 1 — At Ashland, the Ashland boys tennis squad picked up nonleague wins in all but one singles match at Hunter Park.
Ashland's top singles player Grant Kahn, a junior, downed North Medford's Logan West 6-0, 6-2. On the doubles side, the Grizzlies' top pairing of senior Max Burt and junior Michael Montes defeated Ryan Hogan and Kyle Campbell, 6-2, 6-2.
SINGLES — Grant Kahn, A, d. Logan West, 6-0, 6-2; Mischa Kirby, A, d. Tyler West, 6-1, 6-3; Daniel Pedersen, NM, d. Jordan O'Donnell, 6-1, 6-1; Kai Weston, A, d. Kellin Pedersen, 7-5, 6-4.
DOUBLES — Max Burt-Michael Montes, A, d. Ryan Hogan-Kyle Campbell, 6-2, 6-2; Nathanial Baize-Gabe LaMont, A, d. Benton Coulman-Kane Garrett, 6-1, 6-0; Nick Benson-Cannon Dukes, A, d. Ryan Trapp-Alex Forehand, 6-2, 6-1; Connor Kaegi-Logan Kisler, A, d. Isaiah Williams-Alex Down, 6-1, 6-0.
Grants Pass 8, Hidden Valley 0
SINGLES — Natasha Matola, GP, d. AnnaLisa Hazelton, 6-2, 6-0; Larissa Silva, GP, d. Nova Rumery 6-0, 6-0; Rachael Berkey, GP, d. Cody Porter, 6-2, 6-3; Hannah Knickenberg, GP, d. Zoe Newton 6-2, 6-1.
DOUBLES — Brittany Blacksmith-Maria Palomino, GP, d. Sarah Nelson-McKenna Schermerhorn 6-3, 6-1; Olivia DeJanvier-Amanda Solar, GP, d. Jaya Black-Lazo-Heather Knowlton, 6-0, 6-0; Emma Isabel-Sara Rezendes, GP, d. Brooke Notter-Breanna Quezada, 6-1, 6-2; LaPan-Blakely, GP, d. Shannon Murphy-Devona Brown, 6-1, 6-2.