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Wins at a premium in final SOC twin bills

There stands to be a considerable amount of scoreboard watching this weekend as the Southern Oregon Conference baseball season comes to a close with doubleheaders today and Saturday.

At stake are the SOC's top four spots in the Class 4A state playoffs, which begin with subtournament play May 21 and first-round action May 24, as well as a potential first-ever baseball title for one of the hopefuls.

Being co-champs is everything and more than we could have asked for to start the season, says South Medford head coach Steve Antich, whose team hasn't advanced to the state playoffs since 1999. We feel good about where we are right now and the opportunity we have in front of us.

Like everybody else, we're just looking to take care of ourselves and then we'll see how this (playoff) puzzle comes together.

The rights to the SOC's No. — seed to the state playoffs, however, are North Medford's to lose since the ninth-ranked Black Tornado (19-5, 15-4 SOC) holds the tiebreaker over South (19-5, 15-4). North is on the road today for a doubleheader at Klamath Union, and as long as the Tornado doesn't find itself one game back of the Panthers by the end of Saturday, North gains the coveted top draw.

— That No. — seed is especially enticing since it ensures that the SOC leader won't have to face another top-10 team or No. — seed until the quarterfinals. Should the SOC's No. 2 seed advance into the second round, that team could potentially have a road date with the Mount Hood's top seed.

To loosen North's grasp of the top spot, 10th-ranked South Medford will need to sweep Crater (9-14, 8-11) in an 11 a.m. doubleheader at Miles Field on Saturday and have North Medford lose at least one of today's games at KU (10-14, 7-12). A KU sweep and South Medford split would also give the Panthers the No. — seed.

From there, the SOC seeding picture begins to get cloudy, although Saturday's doubleheader of Ashland at Grants Pass could do a lot to clear it up.

As long as the Cavemen (12-11, 10-9) can gain at least one victory over the Grizzlies, Grants Pass is assured at least the No. 4 seed to the state playoffs. The only way GP would lose the No. — seed in that scenario is if Roseburg (11-13, 9-10) sweeps Eagle Point on Saturday because the Indians hold the tiebreaker over the Cavemen.

Should Ashland (13-10, 9-10) sweep the twin bill with Grants Pass, however, the Grizzlies would be assured of the SOC's No. — seed regardless of how Roseburg fares by virtue of Ashland's tiebreaker over the Indians. In that scenario, if Roseburg splits with EP (5-19, 3-16), the Indians would still gain the No. 4 spot and knock GP out of the playoff picture.

Crater's path to the playoffs is a long shot. The Comets need to sweep South on Saturday, have Eagle Point sweep Roseburg and Grants Pass gain at least one victory over Ashland. Crater holds the tiebreaker over Ashland should both teams finish 10-11 in league play.

However, should Ashland, Roseburg and Crater each finish 10-11 and in a three-way tie for fourth place, they would play off. The team with the best record against its counterparts would be the top seed, and the other two would play off, most likely Tuesday. The winner would face the other team on Wednesday for the SOC's No. 4 seed to state.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail