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KLAMATH FALLS — It took a while for Class 6A defending state champion North Medford to get going in its season-opening softball game against Henley Thursday, but when it did, the Black Tornado picked up where it left off.
Keisha Williams and Christina Kuykendall hit home runs as North, blanked for the first four innings, recorded an 8-5 victory over the Hornets. Henley made it to the Class 4A quarterfinals last season.
"It was the first game of the year," said Tornado coach Mike Mayben, "and both teams were just trying to get into a rhythm, learn what it means to play as a team and get used to each other. Henley is a nice, veteran team, so they looked real sharp."
Hornets pitcher Kelly Scott shut out the visitors for four innings on two hits.
"Then we started making some contact," said Mayben.
"We did a nice job, especially making adjustments at the plate," he added. "The first three or four innings, the Scott kid did a great job of keeping us off balance and getting us to chase some balls. We finally made some adjustments and hit some good line drives in the gaps and a couple got out."
North broke through with four runs in the fifth and added three in the sixth.
Williams got the Tornado started with a double in the fifth, and Janelle Rodgers followed with a single. Megan Cowden's bunt single scored one run, and Joci Ellis' single up the middle a couple batters later scored two more.
In the sixth, Williams belted a solo homer to center field. Rodgers doubled, then Kuykendall unloaded her shot to left with two outs.
Williams went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, and Ellis was 3-for-4. Cowden and Rodgers each had two hits.
Alexis Barkwell struck out 12 in pitching the first six innings for North.
North Medford 000 043 1 — 8 14 3
Henley 100 002 2 — 5 8 2
Barkwell, Thomas (7) and Ramsay; Scott and Armantrout. W — Barkwell (1-0). L — Scott. S — Thomas (1). 2B — NM: Williams, Rodgers. HR — NM: Williams, Kuykendall; H: Brown.
SOUTH MEDFORD 9, KLAMATH UNION 1 — Senior right-hander Caleb Newman struck out eight in four strong innings and South Medford capitalized on eight Klamath Union errors to win its season opener at Harry & David Field.
Newman allowed one run on two hits to pick up the win. Offensively, the Panthers were led by Will Cooney, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the first inning. Nate Walker added an RBI double in the second and an RBI ground out in the fourth.
The Panthers next travel to Arizona to take part in the Coach Bob National Invitational, which begins Monday.
Klamath Union 001 000 0 — 1 2 8
South Medford 120 222 x — 9 7 0
McGahan, Weitzel (4), Alvarez (6) and Alvarez, Collman (6); Newman, James (5), Thomas (7) and White. W — Newman (1-0). L — McGahan. 2B — SM: Walker, Bradford. 3B — KU: Mitchell.
NORTH MEDFORD 9, NORTH EUGENE 5 — David Crofton was solid on the mound and helped his own cause at the plate to lead host North Medford to the nonleague win.
The senior right-hander held North Eugene to two earned runs in five innings to pick up the win in his first outing of the season and was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and three RBIs. Also for North Medford (2-0), Christian Gillis was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Isaiah Luzney 2-for-3 with an RBI and Micah Brown 1-for-2 with a two-run single in the third.
North Eugene 100 030 1 — 5 5 3
North Medford 005 500 x — 9 11 3
Owens, Averill (5) and Stapley, P. Ahlstrom (1), Owens (5); Crofton, Ragan (6) and Zavala. W — Crofton (1-0). L — Owens. 2B — NM: Crofton, Evans.
GRANTS PASS 8, SHELDON 7, 8 inn. — At Grants Pass, Cameron Mathews singled in Hayden Chandler with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning for the nonconference win.
Chandler was hit by a pitch, then advanced on Jake Stoffel's single.
Chandler, who scored three runs, Stoffel and Mathews each had two hits.
Sheldon 000 421 00 — 7 10 2
Grants Pass 103 100 21 — 8 11 4
Strahm, Harrel (4), Burgess (6), Brancato (6) and Rotherham; Ekwall, Glaeser (6), Straw (8) and Mathews. W — Straw (1-0). L — Brancato. 2B — S: Frost, Rotherham; GP: D'Amico.
NORTH VALLEY 9, ST. MARY'S 7 — At Merlin, St. Mary's made a late surge with five runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but it wasn't enough in the nonleague game.
Jay Segura's three-run double in the first inning opened things up for the Knights (2-0), who led 8-2 after three innings.
St. Mary's 200 002 3 — 7 6 2
North Valley 431 001 x — 9 9 2
McCabe, Danielson (2), M. Johnson (2), Mulholland (3) and Mulholland, Br. Robinson (3); Streeter, Hergenrether (4), Kindy (5), Manni (7) and Segura. W — Hergenrether. L — McCabe. 2B — SM: Br. Robinson, Mulholland; NV: Segura, Olmstead, Hergenrether. 3B — NV: Calzada.