TALENT — Things weren’t looking promising for the Phoenix baseball team after Cottage Grove took a commanding 7-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning of their Class 4A state play-in game Thursday.
Luckily for the Pirates, comebacks have kind of become their thing as of late.
Thomas Skaff summoned up two clutch hits for Phoenix, including a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh that gave the host Pirates an 8-7 come-from-behind victory and a berth in the state playoffs.
It was the third rally in a row for Phoenix (15-10), which pulled off consecutive comebacks against Klamath Union to end the regular season. Phoenix’s first-round game is Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.
Skaff sparked the Pirates’ three-run fifth inning with a two-out double that kept the inning alive and was capped by Dylan Knudson’s two-run double, trimming the Lions’ lead to 7-3.
After putting two more on the board in the sixth, and following Freedom Martinez’s run-scoring single, Sam Datz knotted the score at 7-all with a two-out single, setting up Skaff’s game-winning single.
Skaff went 2-for-4, James Turnbull was 2-for-3 and Martinez drove in two runs for the Pirates.
Ollivant, Bellamy (6) and Cross; Stella, Turnbull (2) and Courtney. W — Turnbull (7-1). L — Bellamy. 2B — CG: Ollivant; P: Knudson.
SOUTH MEDFORD 2, GRANTS PASS 1: At Grants Pass, Jacob Melton drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh as South Medford rallied for a nonconference win in a tune-up game for the Class 6A state playoffs.
The first round of the playoffs begin Monday when the Panthers (16-9) host Jesuit and the Cavemen (13-14) travel to Westview.
Melton singled home Robby Carle — who reached on a double — to grab the lead after Jaron Emerson knocked in Jaylin Parnell to knot the score at 1-all, erasing a lead the Cavemen had held since the first inning.
Cameron Castle had two hits and scored a run for the Cavemen.
Carle, Charleton (3), Melton (5), Whitney (7) and Thompson, Carle (5); Zavolta, Shelley (3), King (4), Calabro (6), Rund (7) and Padgett. W — Melton (1-0). L — Rund. S — Whitney. 2B — SM: Carle. 3B — GP: Castle.