It’s an experiment that has true benefit and merit, but also one with a big hill to climb before permanent implementation throughout...
CENTRAL POINT — Sophomore Dylan Pearce's upperclassmen provided the perfect supporting cast in his varsity debut for the Crater baseball team on Monday.
Pearce pitched 61/3 innings and was helped by a big third inning and three double plays as the host Comets topped North Eugene 5-3 in the opening day of the Crater Spring Break Tournament at Anhorn Field.
"For his first outing, I thought he did a good job," said Crater coach Jay Campbell. "He was a little nervous, but that's to be expected in your first varsity, well, anything.
"He composed himself well and was able to get out of some jams. He was definitely helped by some upperclassmen defensively."
Pearce's more seasoned teammates helped turn a double play in the first, third and fourth innings.
The Comets (3-1) stranded eight baserunners in the contest, but more than made up for that by tallying five runs in the bottom of the third.
Evan Erskine and Paul Turner both churned out two-run singles for the Comets in the frame and Anthony Martin added an RBI double.
Pearce allowed three earned runs on six hits, walked two, and hit four batters to go with three strikeouts.
After the Highlanders (2-5) cut Crater's lead to 5-3 with a run in the top of the seventh, Blake Fahndrich spelled Pearce to pick up the final two outs and guard the Comet lead.
Martin and Erskine both went 3-for-4, while Turner, Tanner Ryerson and Tyler Aplin each added a pair of hits.
The Comets, who get the day off today in the four-day round robin event, face Newberg at 4 p.m. and South Eugene at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
In other tournament games, North Salem beat South Eugene 1-0 and Newberg defeated Marist 8-6.
North Eugene 002 000 1 — 3 6 0
Crater 005 000 x — 5 13 1
Haase and Pachino; Pearce, Fahndrich (7) and Aplin. W — Pearce (1-0). L — Haase. 2B — C: Aplin, Martin, Ryerson.
THUNDERRIDGE 5, NORTH MEDFORD 2 — At Gilbert, Ariz., senior first baseman Hayden Evans was 2-for-3 with a double but North Medford suffered its first loss of the season at the Coach Bob National Invitational.
Evans scored on brother Jared Evans' single, and Jared Evans later scored on a passed ball to give the Black Tornado (4-1) a 2-1 lead in the top of the second. North's lead didn't last long as ThunderRidge tied the game in the bottom of the inning then scored three in the third, including one on an RBI double by starting pitcher A.J. Jones.
Jones struck out 10 without a walk in six innings to pick up the win. Tornado starter David Crofton surrendered five runs — all earned — on six hits while striking out five in three innings to fall to 1-1.
North Medford 020 000 0 — 2 5 3
ThunderRidge 113 000 x — 5 10 0
Crofton, Gillis (4), B. Pearson (6) and Zavala; Jones, Newell (7) and Hand. W — Jones. L — Crofton (1-1). 2B — NM: H. Evans; T: Westmoreland, Jones.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1, EAGLE POINT 0 — At Eagle Point, Jordan Ragan and Isaiah Luzny combined for a three-hitter and Tristan Jones hit the game-winning single for Cascade Christian in nonleague play.
Jones' hit to right-center field drove in Cooper Clark in the top of the fifth inning.
Luzny and Clark both finished 2-for-3.
Ragan, the starter, recorded six strikeouts and allowed two hits and one walk before being relieved in the fifth by Luzny. Luzny fanned six and gave up one walk and one hit for the Challengers (5-2).
James Dixon tossed a six-hitter with five strikeouts and no walks for the Eagles (4-3), who played error-free ball for the third time this season.
Cascade Christian 000 010 0 — 1 6 1
Eagle Point 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
Ragan, Luzny (5) and Coggins; Dixon and Hangaard. W — Ragan. L — Dixon (1-2).
SISTERS 7, ASHLAND 3 — At Bend, Teresa Lehman recorded two hits, an RBI and a run scored to lead Ashland in its opener at the Central Oregon Spring Break Tournament.
The Grizzlies' Grace Lenthe hit a run-scoring single and Gianni Pippa-Baker added an RBI double.
Sisters 202 003 0 — 7 10 1
Ashland 111 000 0 — 3 7 1
Rowe, Milliman (4) and Cantrell; Lenthe and Lehman. W — Rowe. L — Lenthe (1-5). 2B — S: Smith, Cantrell; A: Lehman, Pippa-Baker.