A funny thing happened to Terry Rasmussen on his way toward retirement as a basketball coach.
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North Medford baseball coach Brett Wolfe showed the utmost confidence in pitcher Jordan Ragan during a key Southern Oregon Hybrid matchup Tuesday.
With the Black Tornado possessing a deep, talented pitching staff, Ragan hasn't seen too much action so far this season. And when Ragan got into a jam in the seventh inning clinging to a one-run lead, Wolfe stayed with the junior pitcher.
Ragan rewarded his coach with a complete-game victory as the Black Tornado held on for a 2-1 win over Crater at North Medford High.
"He showed poise by pitching out of trouble," said Wolfe. "He used his mental game, especially in the last inning. That was Jordan's ballgame the whole way. He earned it."
Ragan, who only tossed 10 innings before going all seven against the Comets, struck out six, allowed six hits and walked two. He retired the side in order twice and the Comets stranded seven runners.
Ragan (2-0), who had thrown just 77 pitches through six innings, surrendered a single to Gunnar Asher to open the seventh. Asher advanced to second on an error on the hit. Zach Lathrop tapped a slow roller near the mound and Ragan made a wild throw at first that allowed Asher to score.
After one out, Tanner Ryerson singled to put runners on first and second. Ragan then struck out Tyler Aplin and got Paul Turner to hit a soft liner to second baseman Colton Westfall to end the game.
"(Ragan) had good command of his fastball and got ahead of hitters," said Wolfe. "The bottom line was he executed pitches."
North Medford (14-1, 4-0 SOH) got all the runs it would need in the first inning off Crater's Nolan Bastendorff (2-2).
Christian Gillis opened the first with a bunt single and went to second on an infield out. Micah Brown beat out a grounder in the hole at shortstop for a hit and Gillis moved to third.
Gillis scored when Jared Evans followed with a hard grounder that third baseman Ty Fox speared but couldn't get Evans at first. With runners at first and third, Josh Berman singled in what proved to be the winning run.
Bastendorff, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, gave up five hits, struck out three and walked one through four innings before being replaced by Fox.
"(Bastendorff) has solid stuff and he's tough to beat so that first inning was huge," said Wolfe. "He's a tall, lanky guy and he throws on a downhill plane and his ball is pretty tough to pick up."
Berman went 3-for-3 and Gillis added two hits for North.
The Black Tornado had runners in scoring position with less than two outs four straight innings but couldn't capitalize against the Comets (11-7, 0-1).
"We left the door open for them," said Wolfe. "Crater is a very good team and they almost made us pay."
Crater 000 000 1 — 1 6 0
North Medford 200 000 x — 2 7 3
Bastendorff, Fox (5) and Aplin; Ragan and Zavala. W — Ragan (2-0). L — Bastendorff (2-2).
MAZAMA 13, NORTH VALLEY 2, 6 inn. — At Klamath Falls, Mazama's Dallas Devry homered twice and drove in three runs and Joe Lancaster went the distance and struck out nine for the Vikings in the Skyline game.
For North Valley (5-9, 1-6 Sky), Joe Calzada was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI and Kevin Olmstead reached base three times, scored a run and stole a base.
Mazama 530 122 — 13 13 1
North Valley 001 100 — 2 7 0
Lancaster and Tron; Streeter, Lindy (3) and Segura. W — Lancaster. L — Streeter. 2B — M: Moore, Crowell, Comer; NV: Streeter. HR—M: Devry 2, Edwards.
HENLEY 10, HIDDEN VALLEY 0, 5 inn. — At Klamath Falls, Henley scored three runs in three of the five innings of the Skyline game.
The Hornets (14-1, 8-0 Sky) pounded 13 hits. Willy Howard's three hits were all doubles, and he drove in three runs. Drew Seater also had three hits.
Hidden Valley is 10-3 and 4-2.
Hidden Valley 000 000 — 0 2 1
Henley 300 133 — 10 13 1
Guzman and Hilyard; Campbell, Chastain (1) and Hults. W — Guzman. L — Campbell. 2B — H: Howard 3, Guzman.
Southern Cascade Hybrid
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 13, ILLINOIS VALLEY 3, 6 inn. — After a walk to open the first inning, Cascade Christian strung together seven hits in the SCH game.
The Challengers (8-3, 3-0 SCH) scored eight first-inning runs, sparked by a two-run triple by Cody Coggins and an ensuing RBI double by Tristan Jones.
Jones was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs, and Will Weaver was 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Coggins drove in three runs, going 2-for-3, and Cooper Clark was 3-for-4 with two runs.
Illinois Valley is 8-4 and 0-1.
Illinois Valley 102 00 — 3 5 1
Cascade Christian 813 01 — 13 14 1
Welch, Thornhill (4) and Davis; Coggins, Weaver (3), Ferguson (5) and Jones. W — Coggins (4-1). L — Welch. 2B — IV: Welch; CC: Clark, Jones. 3B — CC: Coggins, Jones.