Charlie Walker supplied a rarity for the Medford Mustangs on Tuesday at Harry & David Field, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Walker blasted a walk-off three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning of Tuesday's Area 4 American Legion twin bill with the Grants Pass Nuggets, marking the first homer all summer by a Mustang in their home ballpark as they earned a 5-4 win.
In Game 2, Grants Pass raced out to a 5-0 lead but was held scoreless after the first inning as Medford rallied for an 11-5 victory.
Eric Carlson finished 3-for-3 with a run scored, David Crofton and Walker each 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI and Taylor Raff 2-for-5 with two runs.
Crofton homered for Medford (28-16), while Matt Cole had a two-run shot in the first inning for Grants Pass in the second contest.
Winning pitcher Hayden Evans gave up six hits in the first before allowing just three more the rest of the way.
Grants Pass built a 4-2 lead through six innings in the opener, with Medford scoring on a wild pitch in the fifth and a single by Austin Zavala that plated Isaiah Luzny in the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tyler Gulbransen replaced Nuggets starter Chris Painter and wound up taking the loss in only six pitches. His first two pitches resulted in singles by Carlson and Jared Evans, and his next wound up as a sacrifice bunt by Raff.
On Gulbransen's fourth pitch, he induced a flyout by Luzny and then, with a 1-0 count to Walker, the game came to a dramatic close when the former North Medford High standout cleared the left field wall with his fourth homer of the summer.
Carlson and Luzny each had two hits in Game 1 for Medford, which only has eight home runs for the summer. Grants Pass had two hits apiece from Cole, A.J. Herklotz and Chace VanEss.
Grants Pass finished first in the league standings with an 8-4 record. Medford was second (7-5), Roseburg third (6-6) and Eugene fourth (2-10).
The Mustangs' nonleague contest against the Portland Showtime scheduled for today was cancelled.
Grants Pass Nuggets 001 012 0 — 4 10 1
Medford Mustangs 000 011 3 — 5 8 2
Painter, Gulbransen (7) and Erskine; Glick and Zavala. W — Glick (5-1). L — Gulbransen. 2B — GP: Cole. HR — M: C. Walker (4)
Grants Pass Nuggets 500 000 0 — 5 9 3
Medford Mustangs 440 300 x — 11 13 1
Bennett, Bastendorff (2) and Erskine; H. Evans and Zavala. W — H. Evans (5-1). L — Bennett. 2B — M: Carlson. HR — GP: Cole; M: Crofton (1).
Little League 11-12 State Tournament
MEDFORD NATIONAL 7, WILSHIRE-RIVERSIDE 6 — Robert Buck had a big day, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs, including the game-winning hit, for Medford National in round-robin play at Medford National Little League Fields.
The victory was Medford National's first after falling to Sprague and Lake Oswego earlier in the tournament.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Buck drove in Jamal Parnell and Jack West and broke a 5-all tie. Buck also had a two-run hit in the second inning, when Medford National scored four runs to go ahead 5-0.
Reliever Daniel Shenk, who entered in the sixth inning, helped to stave off a Wilshire-Riverside rally and earned the victory.
Bennett Smith finished 3-for-4 and Robby Carle and Daniel Shenk 2-for-3 for Medford National, which plays Pendleton at 6 p.m. today.
Nolan Grogan was 3-for-3 and Jonathan Shubin 2-for-3 with a home run for Wilshire-Riverside.
In other games, Lake Oswego beat Sprague 11-8, Gresham topped Klamath Falls American 11-6 and Hermiston defeated Sheldon 13-2.