CHICO, Calif. — The Medford Rogues are one win away from a Great West League championship after topping the Chico Heat, 5-3, in Game 1 of the GWL finals on Friday night.
The best-of-three series now shifts to Medford, where the Rogues (43-21) will host Game 2 at 6:35 tonight. Game 3, if necessary, would also be at Harry & David Field on Sunday.
Medford led 2-0 before the Heat (40-24) scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Rogues answered back with three runs in the seventh.
Jayden Hanna provided Medford the go-ahead run when he came home on a wild pitch. Clay Valenzuela-Reece then scored on a Chico error to put the Rogues ahead by two.
Earlier in the inning, Valenzuela-Reece's single drove in Braden Stutzman and evened the game at 3.
Connor Lowrie smashed a two-out solo home run in second inning to put Medford on the scoreboard first. Alex Isola's leadoff homer in the fourth gave the Rogues a 2-0 edge.
Jamie Flynn earned the victory after relieving starter Jaiden France, who allowed seven hits, three earned runs and one walk with a strikeout in 5 2/3 innings. The Ashland native improved to 2-1 after pitching 1 1/3 innings and not giving up a run, hit or walk.
The series is a rematch of last year after Chico also advanced for the second straight year with a series-deciding 9-3 win over the Lincoln Potters on Wednesday.
The Rogues beat the Portland Pickles, 12-6, in a wild Game 3 on Wednesday to seal their spot in the final.
France, Flynn (6), Wilson (8), Frost (9) and Isola; Knowles, Gamboa (6), Roundy (8), Bachman (9) and Johns. W — Flynn (2-1). L — Gamboa (0-1). 2B — M: DeLaCruz. 3B — C: Wilhite. HR — M: Isola (2), Lowrie (1).