Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
ASHLAND — Steen Fredrickson did all he could to help the Ashland High baseball team push Class 6A powerhouse North Medford on Friday.
But the Grizzlies couldn't overcome a four-error day by their defense, and the Black Tornado received a strong tag-team pitching performance out of starter Jordan Ragan and Colton Westfall to pull out a 6-1 nonleague win at North Mountain Park.
Fredrickson held North Medford, ranked fourth in the latest 6A coaches poll, to six hits in five innings, but the visitors made the most of those hits, manufacturing five runs, only three of which were earned.
"If we don't show up ready to play and do the simple things in baseball — catch and throw — that's what's going to happen," said Ashland coach John Wallace, whose team is No. 2 in the OSAA Class 5A power rankings. "You can't give good teams free bases and extra outs and that's what we did today."
Jordan Pond led the way for the Tornado, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs from the No. 7 hole.
Fredrickson was 2-for-4 to lead Ashland, which stranded 11 baserunners.
North (17-4), No. 2 in the 6A power rankings, took advantage of two Ashland errors to pull ahead to stay in the first, with Pond's two-run single through the left side of the infield giving the Tornado a 3-0 lead.
Ashland had plenty of chances to catch up, but couldn't.
In the bottom of the first, the Grizzlies scored their only run of the game on a bases-loaded strikeout — Ragan's nasty curve bounced away from North Medford catcher Austin Zavala, allowing Eric Carlson to score from third. Ragan ended the threat moments later, however, striking out Jerry Carroll on four pitches to leave the bases juiced.
That became a frustrating, running theme for the Grizzlies (15-5), who also left the bases loaded in the third and sixth — both rallies were killed by inning-ending fly outs.
"You gotta credit those guys (Ragan and Westfall) for buckling down when the pressure was on them," Wallace said. "I think it just came down to they were tougher than us in those situations. They wanted it more than we did and we didn't show up ready to get the big hit. We kind of succumbed to them and facing good arms and good teams, that's what'll happen."
North Medford, meanwhile, made Ashland pay for its mistakes.
In the first, it was a wild throw and a misplayed grounder that kept the inning alive. In the second, a wild throw to third during a rundown allowed Christian Gillis to score from second with two outs, and Zavala struck out swinging moments later. In the fourth, another wild throw to third allowed North's Josh Berman to score.
Ragan struck out five in the first three innings before giving way to Westfall, who held Ashland to one hit over the last four innings while striking out five.
North Medford 310 101 0 — 6 8 1
Ashland 100 000 0 — 1 6 4
Ragan, Westfall (4) and Zavala; Fredrickson, Hulick (6), Milgram (7) and Glick. W — Westfall (8-2). L — Fredrickson (5-3). 2B — NM: Fowler; A: Carlson, Sanderson.
HENLEY 11, EAGLE POINT 0, 5 inn. — At Klamath Falls, Eagle Point's Destin Adams was 2-for-3 for half of his team's hits in a losing cause against 4A power Henley in nonleague action.
Cody Dykstra drove in three runs and Willy Howard plated two for the Hornets (20-1).
Jacoby Jackson had a double and Devyn Grady added a single for the Eagles (3-14).
Eagle Point 000 00 — 0 4 1
Henley 342 2x— 11 13 2
Wilson and O'Brien; Goodell, Noonan (5) and Hilyard. W — Goodell. L — Wilson. 2B — EP: Jackson; H: Hilyard, Howard, Fernlund. 3B — H: Seater. HR — H: Guzman, Howard.
NORTH MEDFORD 4-11, CRATER 1-1 — Joci Ellis went 4-for-4, drove in three runs and scored three as North Medford completed the Southern Oregon Hybrid sweep in the five-inning second game at North Medford High.
Ellis led off the game with a triple and later scored, rapped an RBI single in the second and a two-run home run to left field in the fourth.
The victory lifted the Black Tornado to 18-1 overall and 9-0 in the SOH. Crater is 3-19 and 0-10.
Christina Kuykendall also had a big game in the nightcap, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs as North banged out 18 hits. Katie Ramsay was 3-for-3 and Grace Jovanovic, who scored a run, and Alexis Barkwell were each 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Tornado scored four in the bottom of the fifth to end it on the 10-run rule with one out.
Winning pitcher Sarah Thomas allowed four hits, struck out one and walked one in five innings.
In the opener, Barkwell (15-1) checked the Comets on four hits, fanned five and walked one.
The Tornado scored a run in each of the first four innings.
Ramsay had a double in the second inning and scored and drove in a run in the third.
Crater 000 010 0 — 1 4 1
North Medford 111 100 x — 4 7 2
Berryhill and Doggett; Barkwell and Ramsay. W — Barkwell (15-1). L — Berryhill. 2B — C: Smurzynski; NM: Ramsay.
Crater 001 00 — 1 4 2
North Medford 130 34 — 11 18 0
Beck, Fisher (4) and Doggett; Thomas and Ramsay. W — Thomas (3-0). L — Berryhill. 2B — C: Ryerson; NM: Kuykendall, Williams, Ramsay, Barkwell. 3B — NM: Ellis, Barkwell. HR — NM: Ellis.