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Crater drops North in non-conference tilt

CENTRAL POINT - It may have been a non-conference outing, but the Crater softball team still had something to prove Wednesday against No. 6-ranked North Medford.

The Comets, 11-0 but unranked heading into the game, scratched out a 3-2 victory on Crystal Huntley's run-scoring triple in the fourth inning.

Crater sophomore pitcher Jenni Bittle improved to 7-0 herself in helping her team get to 12-0. She allowed one earned run on seven hits while striking out five in a complete-game victory. She added an RBI single at the plate.

"This definitely was our biggest test to date, playing North Medford," first-year Comets head coach Chris Arnold said of meeting the seven-time defending Southern Oregon Conference champions.

The Black Tornado (6-3 overall) started freshman pitcher Kendra Strahm as opposed to one of its two usual starters. Junior Keri Sevano, the team's ace, relieved in the sixth.

The teams traded runs in the first before North took a 2-1 edge with another run in the second.

Crater responded with a run in the bottom of the third to tie it at 2-all. In the fourth, Huntley's triple drove home Janelle Cristofaro - a courtesy runner for junior catcher Kelle Thomas, who had reached on a single - with what proved to be the game-winning run.

"It was a close ballgame the whole way," Arnold said. "Pretty well-played by both teams. It will be even tighter when we meet in conference play."

The teams return to SOC action Saturday, when the Comets welcome Ashland to Central Point and North is the visitor against South Medford at Fagone Field. Both matchups are doubleheaders that start at noon.

North Medford ................................. 110 000 0 - 2 7 2Crater ............................................... 101 100 x - — 5 2

Strahm, Sevano (6) and Hillyer; Bittle and Thomas. W - Bittle (7-0). L - Strahm. 3B - C: Huntley.

NORTH VALLEY 3, ROGUE RIVER 2- At Merlin, Michelle Beck tripled then eluded a tag at home plate for the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning of a Skyline Conference makeup.

Beck, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs and three stolen bases, scored the winning run on Karen Allen's groundout to third base. As Allen was thrown out at first, Beck broke for home and beat the throw from first.

North Valley (5-4 overall, 4-1 Skyline) handed Rogue River (5-1 Skyline) its first conference loss.

The Knights got a solid pitching performance from Tara Ironside (4-3), who gave up one earned run in tossing a complete-game six-hitter.

The Chieftains countered with Laura Jones, who absorbed the loss despite allowing just five hits.

Hannah Murphy was 2-for-3 for North Valley, while Katie Glassock went 2-for-4 for Rogue River.

Rogue River ..................................... 000 002 0 - 2 6 2North Valley ..................................... 002 000 — - — 5 2

Jones and Artoff; Ironside and Beck. W - Ironside (4-3). L - Jones. 2B - NV: Beck. 3B - RR: Frederick; NV: Beck.

Baseball

NORTH MEDFORD 5, DOUGLAS 0- North Medford improved to 12-1 overall with a non-conference victory over Douglas at Miles Field.

Brett Timmerman (2-0) allowed only a two-out single in the first inning during five innings of shutout pitching work. He struck out seven and walked none.

Rob Folsom was perfect in hurling the final two innings for the Black Tornado.

J.C. Rowley was 1-for-1 with an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base to ignite the North offense.

The Black Tornado next faces South Medford on Saturday in a Southern Oregon Conference doubleheader that begins at noon at Miles Field.

Douglas ............................................ 000 000 0 - 0 — 2North Medford ................................. 300 200 x - 5 4 2

Hutton and McCullers, Woods (5); Timmerman, Folsom (6) and Folsom, Ulrey (6). W - Timmerman (2-0). L - Hutton.

GRANTS PASS 5, DEL NORTE

(Calif.) — - At Crescent City, Calif., Grants Pass rode a three-run second inning to the non-conference victory.

Ryan Davidson was 2-for-4 and Josh McGowan went 1-for-2 with a two-run double in the second.

The Cavemen (8-5 overall) play host to Eagle Point on Saturday in an SOC doubleheader that starts at noon.

Grants Pass ...................................... 031 100 0 - 5 7 0Del Norte .......................................... 100 020 0 - — 6 2

Mecum, No. 10 (5) and Ortiz; Stills, Pepiot (3) and Rotting. W - Mecum. L - Stills. 2B - GP: McGowan, Pepiot.