KLAMATH FALLS — The Medford Mustangs rallied from a seven-run deficit and scored 17 unanswered in a 19-7 victory over the Dallas Dirtbags in the American Legion AAA state tournament at Kiger Stadium on Friday night.
The Mustangs (34-10-1) — who are trying to become the first team to win four straight state titles since a Portland team won six in a row in 1948 — sealed a spot in Sunday’s championship contest with Friday’s seven-inning triumph.
Medford will face the Portland Barbers (who are 2-1 in the tournament) at 4 p.m. today. A victory over the Barbers would ensure the Mustangs advancement to regionals with a single win against an opponent to be determined on Sunday.
Medford trailed 7-0 against the Dirtbags heading into the bottom of the second inning. The Mustangs drew within a run in the fourth before erupting for 11 runs in the fifth. Joe Johnson’s RBI single scored Tate Cowden and put Medford ahead for good in the inning.
“We’ve been struggling a little (at state) and just haven’t played our best baseball,” Medford manager Nate Mayben said. “Our first two games we gave up a lot of free bases and gave other teams opportunities to score runs and have life. The first two innings things weren’t looking good, but we finally came out and played to our potential and we were pounding the baseball all over the field. We finally got to be where we need to be and it’s scary.”
Jacob Melton was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored, Cole Carder 3-for-4 with a three-run home run and three runs scored and Nick Sanderson 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs for the Mustangs, who tallied 16 hits.
Dylan Marsh finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs and Keller Edwards 2-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs.
Winning pitcher Berry Hunt (7-2) threw 6 ⅔ innings, allowing eight hits, seven runs (one earned) and one walk with seven strikeouts. Dallas cycled through three pitchers in the fifth.
“(Hunt) stayed composed and just competed,” Mayben said.
Mendazona, Stanfield (5), Zellner (5), Amador (5), Rodriguez (6) and Earhart; Hunt, Edwards (7) and Little, Turnbull (3). W — Hunt (7-2). L — Rodriguez. 2B — D; Earhart; M: Melton, Carder, Sanderson, Edwards. 3B — M: Melton. HR — M: Carder.
American Legion A
SOUTH MEDFORD 7, NORTH MEDFORD 5: At Aurora, South Medford scored six runs in the third inning, then withstood a big North Medford rally to eliminate the Mavericks from the state tournament in a matchup of Area 4 rivals at North Marion High.
North Medford (33-7-1) scored all of its runs in the fifth inning.
South Medford (22-6-1) will play North Willamette Valley at 8 tonight.
On Friday, the Colts took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Zac Ankeny singled in Clint Campbell, who had singled.
South Medford then erupted for six runs in the third to make it 7-0. Bennett Thompson’s two-run double was the big blow. Ankeny and Jaalen Owens had RBI singles in the frame.
Ankeny and Thompson were each 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Campbell, who scored twice, and Peyton Owens each added two hits.
North Medford closed the gap dramatically with a two-out grand slam by Ryan Sandoval to left-center field in the fifth.
Trevor Corallo singled to start the rally. Consecutive walks to Quinton Rumrey, Brandon King and Jon-o Gassman scored the first run before Sandoval unloaded.
South Medford 106;000;x;—;7;11;2
Gassman, King (3) and Robbins; D. Shenk, Buchanan (5), Cl. Campbell (6) and Thompson. W — Shenk. L — Gassman. 2B — SM: B. Thompson. HR — NM: Sandoval.
Great West League
MEDFORD 13, LINCOLN 6: At Lincoln, Calif., the Medford Mustangs won their seventh straight during Great West League play.
Connor Lowrie was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and Josh Berman 2-for-3 with a two-run home run and three RBIs for first-place Medford (37-14).
Eric Yang and Caleb Smith both went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Johnny DeLaCruz 2-for-5 with a solo shot and two runs and Alex Isola 2-for-6.
Dylan Pearce improved to 5-0 after allowing six hits, six earned runs and four walks with five strikeouts in five innings against the second-place Potters (32-19).
Pearce, Hutchinson (6) and Isola; Boggini, Sepulveda (7), Lindsey (8), Castaneda (9) and Allen. W — Pearce (5-0). L — Boggini (1-5). 2B — M: Hellweg. 3B — L: Hoffman. HR — M: DeLaCruz (1), Berman (5); L: De Benedictis (6).