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Sanford soars past Mustangs, 17-7

RAPID CITY, S.D. ­ One bad inning was costly for the Medford Mustangsat the American League World Series Saturday.

Sanford, Fla., exploded for a record-tying 12 runs in the seventh inningand went on to knock off the Mustangs 17-7 in eight innings in a second-roundwinner's bracket game at Fitzgerald Stadium.

The victory sets up an all-East Coast battle of unbeatens tonight whenSanford (45-12) takes on Bristol, Conn. (44-9), with the winner guaranteeda spot in Tuesday's championship game.

Medford (54-10) plays Fairfield, Calif. (55-15) in today's consolationgame at 2:35 p.m. The Mustangs split a pair of games with Fairfield earlierin the season.

Sanford, which is making its first ALWS appearance, roughed up threeMedford pitchers for 10 hits, including six doubles in the seventh inning.

The two teams set an ALWS record with the 14 runs in the seventh as wellas a combined 13 hits in the inning. The record for combined doubles (13)in the game, including nine by Sanford, was also set in the game.

We've hit like this before, said Sanford coach Rod Fargerson.We had one of these games in the regional. We have some kids who canhit the ball.

A key play in the game came in the big seventh inning when Sanford hadrunners on second and third with one out. Phillip Eubanks rapped a hardshot to Medford first baseman Shawn Walker, who elected to throw home toprevent a run, but the throw wasn't

held by catcher Rich Dorman. Florida went on to immediately tie the gameon Andy Neufeld's double and took the lead for good on Chris Louwsma's ringingdouble.

I thought the play was a mistake by Medford, said Fergerson.The first baseman was playing back and he had a sure out at first.Instead, we got the run and kept the inning going. It was an emotional liftfor us.

Walker's two-run homer in the fifth inning gave Medford a 4-2 lead. Andthe Mustangs took what appeared to be a comfortable 6-2 advantage into theseventh.

We kind of fell apart in that one inning, Medford managerSandee Kensinger said. You have to give Florida all the credit inthe world for putting the ball in play and hitting that well. We made somemistakes when we were ahead in the count and we paid the price.

Medford starter Steve Bechler pitched effectively through six innings.Sanford collected its first hit when Cyde Williams rapped a solo home runover the right field light tower in the second.

After Sanford added a run in the third to tie the score 2-2, Bechlershut Sanford down over the next three innings while the Mustangs went outto four-run lead.

After Bechler got into trouble in the seventh, Medford relievers JasonHuish and Jed Johnson could not stop the heavy hitting Florida club.

Williams, Pulo Silva, and Tim Raines Jr., son the New York Yankee outfielder,each accounted for three hits for Sanford.

The Mustangs top four batters in the order ­ Nate Philo, Alex Chavez,Walker and Kevin Follett ­ all collected two hits apiece and Dormanbanged out three singles to spark the 13-hit attack.

I think we'll always hit the ball, said Kensinger. Andwe didn't quit. The important thing is tomorrow. We're still playing forsomething and I think we'll be ready to come back. The kids are not veryhappy about being 10-runned. That hasn't happened in a long time.