South Medford held off a North Medford rally in a high-scoring Game 1 and rode a pitching gem by Ricky Boortz and home runs by Jacob Melton and Jack Thompson in Game 2 to pull out a Southwest Conference sweep Saturday at North Medford High School.
The Panthers jumped out to an 8-0 lead before snuffing out the Black Tornado’s last-gasp rally with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh for a 15-11 series-opening win, then watched Boortz deliver a two-hit shutout and Thompson crush a three-run, game-breaking homer to complete the sweep and remain undefeated in SWC play with a 5-0 victory in Game 2.
“It’s early, but when you can get two from any team you need to feel pretty good about it,” South Medford coach Ray Smith said, “especially when it’s a good North Medford club.”
In the first game, the Tornado (8-6, 4-4 SWC) scored three in the third and one apiece in the fourth and fifth to trim what was an eight-run deficit to 10-5, but the Panthers (10-3, 7-0) tacked on four more in a sixth-inning surge highlighted by Jaalen Owens’ two-run single.
North rallied again, scoring five in the sixth thanks in part to RBI singles by Jeremiah Huffman and Ryan Sandoval, but a bases-loaded groundout in the seventh finally ended the game, which featured 25 hits.
“We opened the door for them in the first inning when we had two costly errors and against good teams with guys that can swing the bats you’ve got to limit guys to three outs,” North Medford coach Brett Wolfe said.
Robby Carle went 3-for-5 with an RBI and four runs scored and Thompson 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead South Medford’s Game 1 attack, while Huffman, Sandoval and Brandon King had three hits apiece for the Tornado.
In the nightcap, Boortz struck out six and walked one while limiting North Medford to a bad-hop single and a double by Jonathan Gassman.
“(Boortz) was in command from the start,” Smith said. “He was able to work the ball in and out, and his off-speed pitches kept them off balance. That was a great pitching performance by him after a long first game.”
South Medford scored the only run it would need on an error in the third, then got three insurance runs on one big swing by Thompson in the fifth — his second homer of the season. Melton added a mammoth solo shot estimated at 380 feet-plus — his fifth of the year — in the seventh inning.
Sandoval started on the mound for North and did his job, holding the Panthers to two earned runs on five hits, but the Black Tornado defense struggled while commiting five errors.
“We haven’t done that this year,” Wolfe said of the errors. “That was (South Medford) taking advantage of our mistakes. ...I don’t like being on the other end of it, but I know we’re going to bounce back and be a little better for it.”
Zac Ankeny went 2-for-3 with two doubles for South in Game 2.
South Medford 233 024 1 — 15 12 2
North Medford 003 115 1 — 11 13 3
Letendre, Shenk (6), Campbell (6) and Thompson; Collins, Buchanan (3), Corallo (6), King (7) and Robbins. W — Letendre (4-1). L — Collins (3-2). 2B — SM: Owens; SM: Carle; NM: Sandoval, Huffman.
South Medford 001 030 1 — 5 5 1
North Medford 000 000 0 — 0 2 5
Boortz and Thompson; Sandoval and Robbins. W — Boortz (3-0). L — Sandoval (2-2). 2B — SM: Ankeny 2; NM: Gassman. HR — SM: Melton (5), Thompson (2).