Ashland’s volleyball program had quite a run brewing from 2005-09, securing top-four state trophies in all five seasons.
EUGENE — Crater's Nolan Bastendorff delivered one of his finest pitching performances of the season, but against the power-loaded Sheldon Irish it wasn't quite enough for the Comets in a Class 6A baseball quarterfinal thriller Friday.
Crater's 6-foot-5 right-hander held Sheldon, the highest-scoring team in 6A baseball, to one run on five hits before Gaje McDaniel crushed a full-count pitch over the wall in right-center to leadoff the seventh, giving the Irish a 2-1 victory.
Sheldon (25-5) next faces Roseburg in the state semifinals on Tuesday.
Crater (19-10) broke a scoreless tie in the fourth when Anthony Martin belted his fourth home run of the year and third of the postseason. With Bastendorff cruising, the solo shot had the Comets feeling pretty good.
"It was the type of game where you didn't know if one run was really going to hold up, but we thought we had a chance to make it hold up," Crater coach Jay Campbell said.
Mixing in a steady dose of off-speed pitches, Bastendorff struck out four and walked one while surrendering six hits against an Irish team that scored 51 runs in its previous four games.
"He had a great outing and did exactly what we were hoping he would do, keeping us in the ball game," Campbell said. "It was not one of our best days at the plate, offensively. Normally, we would have scored three or four runs, but we weren't able to do that (Friday)."
Sheldon tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a bases-loaded wild pitch.
Crater threatened to strike back in the top of the sixth when Evan Erskine led off with a grounder to short that was thrown away for a two-base error. Erskine advanced to third on a fielder's choice groundout, giving the Comets two at-bats to get him home, but Ty Fox popped up to second and Taylor Tibbets grounded out to third to end the threat.
In the seventh, McDaniel, who bats lefty, worked the count full before hitting a laser that barely cleared the fence, giving Sheldon 13 wins in its last 14 games.
"We played a great game today," Campbell said. "It was a good high school baseball game and I told them I was proud of them, they have nothing to hang their heads about. They gave it everything they had."
Crater 000 100 0 — 1 4 0
Sheldon 000 010 1 — 2 6 1
Bastendorff and Aplin; Ralston, Alie (6) and McDaniel. W — Alie. L — Bastendorff. 2B — C: Fahndrich; S: Lewis. HR — C: Martin (4); S: McDaniel.
HENLEY 8, HIDDEN VALLEY 7 — At Klamath Falls, Kody Garrison had three hits, including a home run, and five RBIs to lead Hidden Valley but the Mustangs suffered a season-ending loss in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
AJ Munoz and Tyler Gulbransen had two hits apiece for Hidden Valley (18-8), which scored three runs in the fourth to go up 7-6 but couldn't hold on in a game that featured four lead changes.
Henley (23-5), which will host Sisters in the state semifinals on Tuesday, was led by Willy Howard's two hits.
Henley's Jack Mitchell scored the winning run in the sixth as teammate Kelly Greif was caught in a rundown between first and second.
Hidden Valley 202 300 0 — 7 10 4
Henley 240 011 x — 8 9 3
Garrison, Gulbransen (6) and Gulbransen, Bennett (6); Overstreet, Hilyard (6) and Hilyard, Howard (6). W — Hilyard. L — Gulbransen. 2B — H: Hilyard, Seater, Howard. 3B — H: Overstreet. HR — HV: Garrison.