Picking up steam at just the right time, the Medford Mustangs won their third straight game Saturday in the Best of the West Wood Bat Challenge.

Picking up steam at just the right time, the Medford Mustangs won their third straight game Saturday in the Best of the West Wood Bat Challenge.

Medford racked up 12 hits and played error-free baseball in claiming a 9-4 victory over the Susanville (Calif.) Renegades in American Legion AAA play at Harry and David Field.

The win advances the Mustangs into the third-place game at 2 p.m. today against Fairfield (Calif.), which was a 6-3 winner over the East County Knights on Saturday.

More importantly, Medford (10-5) has the appearance of a team rounding into shape as the Area 4 season looms with a July 1 opener at Grants Pass.

"I think we're getting to where we need to be," said Mustangs manager Sandee Kensinger. "We've given a lot of looks at a lot of different situations, and we should be settling in here real soon."

The Mustangs had their lead trimmed to 3-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning on Saturday, but answered with three runs of their own in the sixth and seventh innings to pull away.

Logan Odom supplied a big blast in the sixth with a two-out, two-run double down the right-field line that followed walks to Trent Smith and Dustin Smith. Odom later scored on a single by Mark Austad.

"He's starting to like that corner down there," Kensinger said of Odom's double. "He's hit a couple balls down there recently at big times for us."

In the seventh inning, Derek Grieve walked and Kory Locken singled to set the stage for another three-run outburst. After a double steal advanced each runner, Grieve scored on a sacrifice fly by Zack Earle and Locken was plated on Darren Bruhns' RBI triple. Bruhns eventually scored after a wild pitch.

Bruhns led the Mustangs with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate, with Dustin Smith going 2-for-4 with two runs and Austad 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

"We've got some guys who are swinging the bat pretty well now," said Kensinger.

The Mustangs also displayed some solid defense, with Locken supplying the play of the game on a circus catch in center field to halt a threat by Susanville in the eighth inning. The Renegades had already scored twice to make it 9-4 when a soaring hit was sent to center field with two runners on.

"It was nice," Kensinger said of Locken's catch. "The ball was hit over his head and with the wind blowing he got turned around a little but still was able to make the catch. It was a big catch for us because if that gets by, it's two runs."

Shea Bedortha scattered three hits to go with five strikeouts and two walks over five innings for Medford, with Jared Smith striking out four over the final four innings to clinch the victory.

"Shea wasn't at full strength, but he did just fine," said Kensinger. "He's the kind of kid that wants in the game and wants the ball, and that's a good thing. We're going to need that as these games begin to pile up."

In today's other game at Harry and David, the East County Knights will take on the Salem Withnell Dodgers at 11 a.m. The Best of the West title will be settled at Kiger Stadium in Klamath Falls, with Yakima taking on Reno.

Susanville 100 001 020 — 4 9 1

Medford Mustangs 010 113 30x — 9 12 0

Faustino, Meir (6), Faria (7) and Dominguez, Q. Perry (8); S. Bedortha, J. Smith (6) and Bruhns. W — Bedortha (3-0). L — Faustino. S — J. Smith (2). 2B — S: Dominguez, Linares; M: Odom, Austad, Earle. 3B — M: Bruhns.



Fairfield 000 040 002 — 6 6 2

East County 001 010 100 — 3 6 3

Scholtens, Garcia (5), Guzman (8) and Aldridge; Houle, Hibler (6) and D'Aboy. W — Garcia. L — Houle. 2B — F: Elder 2, EC: Elliott. 3B — F: Elder.