It happened rather unceremoniously, but there was a changing of the guard last Monday and Tuesday for one of the state’s biggest high...
The South Medford Panthers have yet to hit their stride defensively, but their bats remained hot in a nonconference baseball doubleheader sweep of North Valley on Saturday.
Six Panthers had two hits or more in Game 1 and Joe Cooney came through with a clutch single in Game 2 as South Medford took two from the Knights, 13-5 and 5-2, at Harry & David Field.
The wins improved the Panthers, who are averaging 11 runs per game, to 6-0.
"We're feeling pretty good about where we're at now, but it's going to get tougher," South Medford head coach Ray Smith said. "When we get in league play, we certainly have to get better and find a way to eliminate some of the silly mistakes that we've made. We've been inconsistent defensively, and we're looking to lock that down and start making some routine plays."
The Panthers have managed to survive some shoddy defense with outstanding offense, but they put it all together in a Game 1 rout Saturday. Jimmy Sporer was 3-for-4 with a triple, three runs and two RBIs, and Eric Wallan was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs to lead South's 17-hit attack. Brady Breeze added three hits and two runs, and Pat Alexander was 2-for-3 with six RBIs as the Panthers scored four runs in the second to take a 5-3 lead then seven more in the fifth to go up 12-4.
South also committed only two errors in the first game, which Smith called one of South's best defensive performances of the season.
In Game 2, Cooney delivered a two-run single in the third to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead, and Alexander held North Valley (3-3) to two runs, both unearned, on four hits while striking out six in a complete-game pitching effort.
"(Alexander) really stepped up and did a great job," Smith said.
North Valley 030 011 0 — 5 3 1
South Medford 140 071 x — 13 17 2
Parker, Olmstead (6) and DuPont; Cooney, Newman (3) and White, Alexander (6), Burton (7). W — Newman (3-0). L — Parker. 2B — NV: Olmstead; SM: Wallan, Alexander, Walker, Newman, Pierson. 3B — NV: Bacon; SM: Sporer.
North Valley 002 000 0 — 2 4 0
South Medford 003 200 x — 5 6 4
Garmendia and Swanson; Alexander and Cooney. W — Alexander (1-0). L — Garmendia. 2B — SM: Lupton.
CRATER 7, ASHLAND 4 — At Ashland, Crater starting pitcher Ty Fox went 2-for-3 at the plate and limited Ashland to three runs on three hits through five innings to pick up the win on the mound in a nonconference tilt at North Mountain Park.
Fox's two-out single drove in Blake Fahndrich for the first run of the game in the first, and the Comets (2-1) added three more in the second, including two on a single by Tyler Aplin.
The Grizzlies cut what was a 6-0 deficit to 6-4 when Steen Fredrickson scored on Vince Cammarota's sacrifice fly in the sixth, but Crater added an insurance run in the seventh on Anthony Martin's RBI double.
Ashland starting pitcher Jamie Flynn surrendered six runs, three earned, on five hits in a losing effort. He struck out five without a walk. Also for Ashland (1-5), Jack Carroll, Ryan Bottimore and Ian Alpenia had two hits apiece.
Crater 132 000 1 — 7 8 6
Ashland 001 021 0 — 4 6 5
Fox, Pardee (6) and Aplin; Flynn, Hulick (5) and Glick. W — Fox. L — Flynn (0-2). 2B — C: Erskine, Martin; A: Bottimore.
PHOENIX 10-9, ST. MARY'S 2-7 — Justin MccReadie belted a two-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning to send Game 2 into extra innings, and Bailey Baker's RBI single in the ninth put Phoenix ahead for good as the Pirates clinched a thrilling nonleague sweep.
Andrew Reynoso was 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs and Kyle Bottermans 2-for-2 with a run to lead Phoenix (6-1) in the nightcap. St. Mary's (6-3) brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but the Pirates turned a 5-4-3 double play, their fourth double play of the game, to nix the threat.
In the first game, MccReadie struck out eight and walked six from the mound in a complete-game effort, his first outing of the season. Reynoso, MccReadie and Jordan Pond had two hits apiece for the Pirates, who are 3-0 against St. Mary's this season.
Phoenix 250 210 0 — 10 10 0
St. Mary's 200 000 0 — 2 4 3
MccReadie and Mobley; Hammond, T. Smith (2) and Seus. W — MccReadie (1-0). L — Hammond. 2B — P: Reynoso, MccReadie.
Phoenix 002 030 202 — 9 11 5
St. Mary's 220 012 000 — 7 6 3
Bottermans, Baker (5), Kentner (6) and Mobley; Aviles, Seus (8) and Seus, Aviles (8). W — Kentner (2-0). L — Seus. 2B — P: Hutchinson. 3B — P: Pond. HR — P: Reynoso 2 (2), MccReadie (1).