The win came relatively easily. The record remained flawless.

The win came relatively easily. The record remained flawless.

But the mood for the top-ranked North Medford baseball team was hardly celebratory.

The Black Tornado (17-0, 7-0 SWC) defeated Southwest Conference foe South Eugene 7-0 at home on Wednesday — its sixth shutout of the season — in a game that left much to be desired for the North players.

"We didn't come as prepared as we should have," Tornado catcher Colin Sowers said. "We could have played better than we did."

Said pitcher Zack Earle: "I didn't feel it was our best performance. We come away from this knowing we have to be more prepared."

All this, from a 7-0 victory?

That's the tone right now for the never-satisfied Tornado, which is coming off of a doubleheader sweep of Roseburg on Saturday but admittedly gave the Axemen (6-9, 1-6 SWC) some hope early on Wednesday.

North created separation with two runs in the third and fourth innings and managed three runs in the sixth. South Eugene threatened in the fourth, putting runners on second and third with one out, but the Axemen never could solve Earle.

"We had chances to score a few runs," South Eugene coach Chris Vermeer said. "(Earle) started to get the curveball over toward the middle-to-late innings and we didn't respond well to it and it really threw us off."

Earle went the distance, allowing four hits and striking out seven to improve to 3-0. He struck out South Eugene's Trevor Wolf and induced an inning-ending ground ball in the fourth to end the threat.

"He did a great job keeping us in the game until we could put some runs on the board," North Medford coach Brett Wolfe said.

Offense was at a premium with a strong wind blowing in from right field and North relied on small ball to manufacture its first runs in the third inning.

Matt Maurer led off with a walk in a seven-pitch at-bat, Chris Bradshaw followed with a sacrifice bunt, and Earle reached on an error. Hayden Wolfe reached on a bunt and Jordan Bostwick hit into what could have been an inning-ending double play but the throw to first was off the mark allowing Maurer and Earle to score.

"It was not the best of conditions because it was windy and cold," Wolfe said. "It changed the game a little bit. For us, it was a great game because it showed that we had to use another part of our game to score some runs and the kids came through."

Sowers and Blake Mitchell led off with singles in the fourth inning and both later scored on a fielder's choice. They started the sixth inning the same way with Sowers scoring on a throwing error and Mitchell scoring on a fielder's choice. Maurer also scored later that inning on a fielder's choice after reaching base for the third time in the game.

Sowers and Mitchell, the sixth and seventh hitters, were 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The Tornado had seven hits off South Eugene's Ethan Trachtenberg.

South Eugene 000 000 0 — 0 4 3

North Medford 002 203 x — 7 7 1

Trachtenberg and Turk; Earle and Sowers. W — Earle (3-0). L — Trachtenberg (1-3).

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or email landrews@mailtribune.com