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Mustangs are still quite batty

THE DALLES ­ Eighteen runs.

Nineteen hits.

Three homers.

Just another day at the office for the Medford Mustangs, who are gallopingtoward the American Legion State AA Baseball Tournament championship withsuch force that it may take an act of Congress just to slow them down.

Brian Fachet, Shawn Walker and K.C. Rumrey homered on Saturday as theMustangs hammered out 19 hits in handing Taylor Electric of Milwaukie an18-6 defeat.

The victory, the Mustangs' 47th against just seven losses this season,earned them a berth in today's championship game. Medford will face Salem-KeizerSand and Gravel at — p.m. and, as the lone unbeaten team in the double-eliminationtournament, has the luxury of playing for the title in a second game ifit loses the first. But the way Medford has been roughing up its competitionthe past four days, a second game looks about as likely as the PhiladelphiaPhillies winning the World Series.

Everyone in our lineup is just crushing the ball right now,said Rumrey, who has broken out of a late-season slump and went 2-for-4Saturday, including a second-inning grand slam. We don't have anyeasy outs.

The Mustangs went into the tourney with a .367 team batting average andhave hiked that number considerably.

This is the time of year to get hot, Medford manager SandeeKensinger said. I just hope we can keep it going one more day andget on to the regional tournament.

Kensinger said he didn't fear a letdown in today's championship gamebecause 10 Mustangs were members of last year's club that lost to KlamathFalls in the title tilt.

We saw another team celebrate in front of our dugout ­ that'ssomething you don't forget in 12 months, Kensinger said.

Just how dominant have the Mustangs been in their four state tourneygames? Ponder these numbers:

They've registered 62 hits, 61 runs and five homers, pushing their seasontotal in the latter to 61, just nine short of the team record set in 1982.

Just as impressively, the so-called mercy rule ­ where games areshortened from nine innings to seven or eight when a team is ahead by 10runs or more ­ has come into play in three of the Mustangs' four games.

The team they didn't 10-run ­ Salem-Keizer ­ was a nine-run victim.

We keep getting runs on the board so fast that we're able to relaxand hit the ball even better, said Fachet, who now has 18 homers onthe season and is just one shy of tying Tim Fasel for No. 2 on the all-timeMustang list. Jordie Stevens holds the record with 26.

Fachet wasted no time in connecting Saturday as he clubbed a two-runhomer over the left-field fence that, along with Kevin Follet's run-scoringsingle, gave Medford a quick 3-0 lead.

Then came the decisive second that saw Medford send 13 batters to theplate and score eight more runs. Rumrey's grand slam was the big blow, butAlex Chavez had a big hand in the outburst with a double, single and tworuns scored in the inning. Walker chipped in with a two-run single.

the end of the fourth, the Mustangs had totaled 18 runs and 19 hitsand Kensinger mercifully cleared the bench.

We knew going in that they were a good team and obviously theydid nothing to change our minds, said Taylor Electric manager JohnRomanaggi, who is the head baseball coach at Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie.They're a veteran team that draws

from three big high schools, so you'd expect them to be a good team,and it looks like they've taken it up a notch here at the tournament.

Almost lost in the Mustangs' offensive fireworks was a couple of excellentdefensive plays.

Medford catcher Rich Dorman fired a perfect strike to first base to pickoff Taylor Electric's Gregg Whitaker in the third inning, and later in theframe, Mustang right fielder Ryan Peterson nailed Bryan Ross at second basewhen Ross attempted to stretch a single into a double.

Otherwise, Taylor Electric might have put together a big inning againstwinning pitcher Jed Johnson.

Johnson went the full seven innings but labored much of the way, yieldingeight hits while striking out three and walking six. He also hit two battersand allowed a three-run homer to Jay Knewlton but still notched his sixthwin in seven decisions this summer.

Taylor Electric endured a scary moment in the fourth when right fielderJoey Cruz crashed through the outfield wall attempting to run down Walker'shome run. Cruz plowed into the plywood fence, knocked a portion of it overand lay motionless on the ground for several moments.

But Cruz, who was thumped in the ribs by a Johnson fastball only minutesearlier, recovered and stayed in the game.