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North leaves MV out in the cold

Black Tornado pitcher Suarez sharp in nonconference sweep

North Medford showcased some of the old and some of the new in sweeping a baseball doubleheader from Mountain View on Saturday.

Returning all-conference pitcher Josh Suarez stymied the Cougars for a 6-0 victory in the opener, while Trevor McCleery made his varsity debut a successful one with a 10-3 triumph in the nightcap at North Medford High.

Despite pitching in cold and windy conditions, Suarez was especially sharp in his first start of the season. The senior left-hander struck out 10 and scattered four hits with one walk and one hit batsmen in the complete-game victory.

You never really like pitching in this kind of weather, said Suarez. It's cold and hard to keep your arm loose, but you've just got to keep your focus and concentrate on making your pitches.

— That focus allowed Suarez to keep Mountain View's leadoff hitter off base through the first six innings. Only an error to start the seventh kept the southpaw from being a perfect 7-for-7 in accomplishing one of the Black Tornado's main goals for the day.

All told, Suarez didn't allow more than one hit per inning and the only Cougar to reach third in the opener was opposing pitcher Cameron Childress, who belted a two-out triple in the first inning.

The kids are pretty confident when Josh is on the hill that we have a chance to win, said North head coach Brett Wolfe. He works pretty quick and gets ahead of hitters, and when pitchers do that, your defense stays alert, your bats are a little sharper and you can play a cleaner, crisper game because everyone stays focused.

North (3-0) jumped ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first after Abe Eubank reached safely on a two-out single and scored moments later when Suarez's high fly to left field got caught up in the wind and eventually glanced off Clay Reeves' glove. Newcomer Zack James then followed with an RBI single.

The Black Tornado tacked on a run in the second after a leadoff single by Matt Schmeltzer, who then stole second and moved to third on a groundout by Darren Bruhns. Dustin Shipley followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 3-0.

North kept up the momentum in the third as back-to-back singles by Eubank and Suarez and a walk to James loaded the bases with no outs. Mountain View (0-2) pulled off a double play on a smash by Logan Odom to first base, but Schmeltzer drew another walk to fill the bases and the sophomore Bruhns came up big with a two-run single to right field.

Schmeltzer later scored when an attempt to keep Bruhns from stealing second went awry and catcher Taylor Bement's throw escaped into center field.

In the nightcap, McCleery struggled with nerves early but settled down nicely to strike out five and allow only four hits ' three in the seventh inning when North led 10-1. The junior's lone walk was the leadoff batter in the first inning, who eventually came around to score and give Mountain View a 1-0 lead.

From that point on, however, the 6-foot-4 right-hander was dominant and his supporting defense flawless to help secure the nonconference sweep.

Trevor spotted the ball real well, and his breaking pitch actually got better throughout the game once he got loose, said Wolfe. That last inning was a little bit of having the game out of reach and us asking him to just go after them.

Eubank and James were each 2-for-3 with two RBIs for North in Game 2, with Schmeltzer also adding two hits.

Suarez, in right field, and Eubank, at first base, also came up with great diving stops to thwart the Cougars.

FIRST GAME

Mountain View.........................000 000 0 ' 0 4 3

North Medford.........................213 000 x ' 6 6 3

Childress, Johnson (5) and Bement; Suarez and Bruhns. W ' Suarez (1-0). L ' Childress (0-1). 2B ' MV: Reeves. 3B ' MV: Childress.

SECOND GAME

Mountain View.........................100 000 2 ' — 4 4

North Medford.....................240 202 x ' 10 11 0

Shaff, Shotwell (6) and Bement; McCleery and Bruhns, Longmire (6). W ' McCleery (1-0). L ' Shaff (0-1). 2B ' MV: Davies; NM: Schmeltzer. 3B ' MV: Childress; NM: Eubank.

North Medford?s Darren Bruhns (7) slides safely into second base during Saturday?s doubleheader against Mountain View. Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli - Mail Tribune Roy Musitelli