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Mustangs pound North Coos in sweep

After two losses at a weekend tournament in Washington, the Medford Mustangswent back about the business of dominating American Legion AA opponentson Wednesday.

And they brought their bats. The big ones.

Medford pounded North Coos pitchers for 27 hits ­ including threehome runs and eight other extra-base hits ­ in Wednesday's doubleheader,sweeping the twin bill 14-4 in five innings and 7-4 in seven innings.

The trio of Alex Chavez, Sean Walker and Kevin Follett ­ the No.2, No. — and No. 4 hitters in the lineup ­ did the bulk of the damage,going a combined 16-for-21 and driving in 14 of Medford's 21 runs in thedoubleheader.

We got the bats going tonight, said Follett, who went 5-for-6on the day and followed a solo homer by Walker in the third inning of thenightcap with a home run of his own to deep center field. It was prettyaverage pitching so it was just a matter of whether we were going to hitthe ball.

Chavez, who went 7-for-8 with four doubles and seven RBIs, said thingsjust seemed to be going his way.

A couple of extra balls fell in that haven't been falling,he said when asked about his big day.

It just happened. You just go out and hit the ball hard and sometimesit falls in the gaps and sometimes it doesn't.

Solid hitting throughout the lineup ­ five players had two hits ormore ­ kept North Coos pitchers on edge throughout the twin bill.

Our whole team can hit the ball pretty well so when you come tothe plate you know that if you don't hit it well someone will pick up foryou, said Walker, who hit a two-run homer in the opener and a soloshot in the nightcap for his eighth and ninth homers of the season. It'scomforting to know every one can hit well.

The Mustangs, who improved to 10-0 in Zone 4 and 32-5 overall, are averagingmore than nine runs a game and only one player on the roster is hittingunder .300.

With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, Wednesday's sweepputs Medford in prime position to capture the Zone 4 and the top seed goinginto the playoffs.

The strong showing also dispelling any doubts that might have been lingeringafter the Mustangs lost twice Saturday in the Vern Bean Classic tournamentin Kennewick, Wash. ­ an event they won last year.

We played some really, really good teams so we weren't worried,said Walker.

This is the real season now, said Chavez of the return toLegion play.

The Mustangs certainly came out focused on Wednesday.

After falling behind 4-1 in the top of the second inning of the opener,Medford brutalized North Coos starter John Richards in the bottom of theinning. Richards retired the first two batters on routine groundouts andappeared headed for a smooth inning. But he walked Jason Huish on a fullcount and the bottom fell out.

Starting with Huish, 12 consecutive Medford hitters reached base ­eight on hits, two on walks and two after being hit by pitches ­ and10 of them scored. the time the carnage ended, the Mustangs led 11-4and every batter in the lineup had scored at least once.

The way we were hitting in the first inning I knew we'd stack upthe runs, said Nate Philo, who had two singles and drove in two runsduring the outburst. I didn't know we'd do it that way. ... It wasgood to be a part of it.

It shows the kind of players we have on this team, said Chavez,who had a two-run double during the second. We have that kind of lineupbut you don't see that all that often.

Manager Sandee Kensinger was pleased, but not surprised by the big inning.

These kids have exploded before, he said, adding that theMustangs scored seven runs in an inning during a 14-13 loss to Seattle BaseballClub on Saturday. It's good to know we can do that.

After a quiet third inning, the Mustangs put the finishing touches onthe opening-game rout with three runs in the fourth. Chavez belted his seconddouble of the game to drive a run and Walker hit a high two-run homer toright field.

Hans Smith pitched a scoreless fifth to close out the 10-run rule victory.Starter Matt Chubb (5-0) struck out five and yielded five hits, includingDonegel Fergus' three-run homer to left in the second inning.

In the nightcap, North Coos (8-8) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the firstinning on Rocky Richards' RBI double but just couldn't keep the Mustangs'offense in check.

Medford scored twice in the bottom of the first on an RBI triple by Walkerand a sacrifice fly by Follett. The Mustangs added another run on an RBIsingle by Chavez in the second inning for a 3-1 lead.

North Coos tied the game in the third inning when Darren Ford hit a solohomer off Medford starter Jed Johnson and Richards added an RBI double.

The Mustangs went ahead for good in the bottom of the third on the back-to-backhomers by Walker and Follett. Walker's blast went off the scoreboard inleft-center field with Follett hit his to dead center.

Chavez added one insurance run on an RBI double in the fourth and anotherwith an RBI single in the sixth.

Huish (5-0) picked up the win for the Mustangs, throwing three inningsand yielding just one run ­ a solo homer in the fifth by Richards. SteveBechler struck out two in a one-two-three seventh inning for his secondsave.

The Mustangs' next game is Saturday against Doc Stewarts of Roseburg.The doubleheader at Miles Field begins at 6 p.m.

Medford's Jason Huish slides across home plate in the Mustangs' 10-run second inning. - Photo by Bob Pennell</P