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Royals stop Roseburg, head to state

EAGLE POINT -- The North Jackson Royals advanced to the American Legion A state baseball tournament for the seventh time in eight years Sunday when it defeated Roseburg Pepsi in a best-of-three Area 4 playoff series.

North Jackson triumphed 6-4 to take the series, 2-1. It lost the first game at home, 5-4, then won at Roseburg, 13-12, before returning home Sunday.

I think the team showed a lot of character, said coach Tom Britton after the Royals improved to 34-8 on the year.

North Jackson, which didn't make it to state last year after winning state titles in 1994-96, begins state play Friday against host Milton-Freewater. The game is at 7 p.m.

North Jackson was in yet another dogfight with Roseburg, breaking a tie in the fourth inning and adding an insurance run in the sixth.

Chip Southerland's three-run home run off Justin Whisenhunt in the first inning staked Pepsi to an early lead.

North Jackson broke away from a 3-3 tie in the fourth when Mike Newmann drilled a two-out single to left field, scoring Charlie Jackson and Matt Holte.

Holte scored again in the sixth on Scott Stockton's sacrifice fly.

Whisenhunt didn't let Roseburg's fast start get to him. Over the final eight innings, he allowed only five hits. He finished with eight strikeouts and two walks.

He put an exclamation point on his performance by striking out the side in the ninth inning.

Roseburg Pepsi

............. 300 010 000 -- 4 6 — North Jackson

............... 120 201 00x -- 6 6 2

DeBell and Baird; Whisenhunt and Garrett. W -- Whisenhunt. L -- DeBell. 2B -- NJ: Holte. HR -- R: Southerland.