ROSEBURG — Fending off elimination for much of the American Legion A state tournament, Central Point proved its grit not once, but twice on Sunday.
Needless to say the second was not quite as easy as the first.
In the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2, Roseburg Pepsi found resurgence by slicing the Comets' lead to one run and loading the bases. But with two outs up against a full count, Ty Fox struck out Pepsi's Cody Walker to secure a 9-8 victory and the state title for the Comets.
"It was a pretty tense moment and I don't think both teams will forget it for a long time," said Comets coach Jay Campbell on the final out. "It was a great atmosphere. Our kids did a good job of battling through. We were able to come away with a win in a hard place to play in Roseburg. It was a pretty special day."
Fox recording the final out may have never been possible if not for the big lead the Comets (35-13) grabbed in the opening contest.
The 8-0 lead provided coach Campbell with some flexibility for his ace Fox.
Boasting the big lead, Campbell decided to rest his starter Fox after the first inning, banking on more-than-capable starter Taylor Tibbets to carry the Comets through the rest of Game 1.
The move enabled Campbell to bring in a fresh Fox in the second inning of Game 2, where he gave the Comets the ultimate finish.
The Comets defense, however, didn't do Fox any favors by committing five errors. Fox gave up six runs but none were earned. He walked five, struck out five and allowed just seven singles in the contest.
Campbell's decision to summon Avery Martin to pinch-hit for Fox in the sixth inning of the second game proved to be the right move as well.
Martin hit a two-run single that ended up protecting the Comets' lead in the seventh.
The Comets built a 7-3 lead but Roseburg scored three runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh before Fox retired the final batter.
Tibbets went 7-for-8 with seven RBIs and three runs scored for the Comets. His third home run of the season came in the third inning, a two-run shot to left field that gave Central Point a 4-3 lead.
"Our big sticks had big days today," said Campbell. "It was definitely a team effort. We were definitely able to hit up and down the lineup."
Tibbets was 4-for-4 in the opening contest, two of which were run-scoring singles that came in the first inning, when the Comets sent 13 batters to the plate. He also improved to 8-0 on the season at the mound by going the final six innings. He gave up five runs but only one was earned as the Comets committed three errors.
Tibbets led the way in Game 2 as well with a 3-for-4 effort. Plankenhorn and Zach Lathrop both went 2-for-4.
The Comets' next challenge awaits in Wheatland, Wyo., where they will go for the Northwest Regional A championship.
Central Point is seeking donations for the trip. Call 541-944-8749 for more information.
Roseburg Pepsi 003 000 2 — 5 7 2
Central Point 800 040 x — 12 16 3
Smith, Reddekoff (1), Watkins (1), Stone (6) and Taylor; Fox, Tibbets (2) and Aplin. W — Tibbets (8-0). L — Smith. 2B — CP: Aplin, Tibbets.
Central Point 103 122 0 — 9 12 5
Roseburg Pepsi 120 003 2 — 8 11 4
Roland, Fox (2) and Aplin; Walker, Hartwick (4) and Taylor. W — Fox (4-0). L — Walker. 2B — CP: Tibbets; R: Taylor. 3B — R: Westwang. HR — CP: Tibbets.
West Coast League Baseball
COWLITZ 4, MEDFORD 3 — At Longview, the Cowlitz Black Bears edged the Medford Rogues, who are in the hunt for a playoff berth with three league games remaining.
Cowlitz took a permanent lead in the fifth inning.
Danny McNabb went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and A.J. Balta scored a pair of runs for the Rogues (27-24), who next host Kitsap in a key three-game series beginning at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at Harry & David Field.
Jerad Casper led off the fourth inning with a solo home run that tied the game at 2 against the Black Bears (23-25).
Losing pitcher Mac Acker allowed five hits, four runs and four walks and struck out six. Reliever Brandon Williams gave up just one hit with five strikeouts in four innings, but the Rogue offense couldn't match his effort.
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Smith cf 4 0 1 0 Bolasky lf 4 1 1 0
Degner rf 3 0 0 0 Grebeck cf 2 2 1 0
Davdsn 1b 4 0 1 0 Ness 2b 3 0 1 1
Casper 3b 4 1 1 1 Littlfld 1b 4 0 1 0
Balta lf 3 2 0 0 Aguilar rf 3 1 1 1
Chavez 2b 3 0 1 0 Leach dh 4 0 0 0
McNabb dh 3 0 1 2 Hummel c 4 0 0 0
Sowers c 1 0 1 0 Martnz 3b 4 0 1 1
Pchco c-ph 2 0 0 0 Gradfrd ss 2 0 0 0
Cornish c 0 0 0 0
Wynant ss 3 0 0 0
Totals 30 3 6 3 Totals 30 4 6 3
Medford 010 200 000 —3
Cowlitz 101 110 00x —4
E—Degner, Acker, Ness, Hummel, Gradford. DP—Cowlitz 2. LOB—Medford 4, Cowlitz 7. 2B—Grebeck, Ness, Aguilar. HR—Casper (5). SB — Grebeck.
IP H R ER BB SO
Acker, L (5-4) 4 5 4 3 4 6
Williams 4 1 0 0 0 5
Wilkins, W (3-3) 8 6 3 2 0 4
Bruns, S (1) 1 0 0 0 0 2
Umpires—Home, Roger Castro First, Jon Jackson Third, Dustin Williams. T—2:09. A—1,229.
Western National Softball
ASA CHAMPIONSHIPS — Northwest Xplosion '00, from Walla Walla, Wash., downed Rip City Rage of Portland 9-4 in the double-elimination ASA Western National Tournament U12 championship game at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Northwest Xplosion '00 beat Rip City Rage 16-7 earlier in the day.
In the U10 title game, Team AB of Rancho Belago, Calif., beat Artesia Punishers '02 of Downey, Calif., 9-4.
U12 Winner's Bracket
Northwest Xplosion '00 16, Rip City Rage 7
Northwest Xplosion '00 9, Rip City Rage 4
U12 Loser's Bracket
AASA-Richardson 10, Washington Speed '01 3; Nightmare 4, KG Hitters 2
Nightmare 12, AASA-Richardson 0
Rip City Rage 3, Nightmare 2
Artesia Punishers 6, Oregon Shockwaves 2
Team AB 9, Artesia Punishers 4