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Fox, Ryerson guide Comets in extras at state

NORTH BEND — As overwhelming as Central Point's Ty Fox was on the mound, the Comets needed eight innings and a clutch hit by Tanner Ryerson to escape in Friday's American Legion A state tournament.

The Comets' 3-2 triumph over La Grande at Clyde Allen Field left them unbeaten in the tourney and set up a rematch of the Area 4 title game with North Medford in an elimination game for the Mavericks at 4 p.m. today.

The Mavericks lost their tournament opener while the Comets (46-6) remain undefeated in the double-elimination event.

In the bottom of the eighth, Ryerson brought home Joey Caballero with the game-clinching run on a single to left.

Caballero pinch ran for Taylor Tibbets, who led off the frame with a single. Caballero tagged up and advanced to third on a fly ball to right by Paul Turner.

Apart from the fourth inning, when La Grande scored twice, Fox was nearly flawless. All three La Grande hits came in the fourth and two were doubles.

The second of those doubles would have given La Grande another run, but Central Point outfielder Blake Fahndrich relayed to Evan Erskine, who threw home to catcher Tyler Aplin for the tag out on a close play at the plate.

"We did a good a good job minimizing the damage there," said Comets coach Jay Campbell. "But (Fox) was overpowering the rest of the way. They were overmatched at the plate he had good command of all three pitches."

Fox pitched all eight innings, allowing just one earned run, one walk and fanning 10.

Ryerson finished 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, and Tibbets went 2-for-4 with a run.

Central Point 100 100 01 — 3 10 1

La Grande 000 200 00 — 2 3 1

Fox and Aplin; Workinger and Rogers. W — Fox (9-0). L — Workinger. 2B — CP: Pardee; LG: Wicklander, Rogers.

NORTH MEDFORD 6, GRANTS PASS 0 — At North Bend, Christian Gillis pitched a four-hitter, struck out a career-high 11 batters and added some offensive punch as North Medford advanced in the American Legion A state tournament.

The Mavericks (46-17) face Central Point at 4 p.m. today and must win to remain alive in the tournament. Central Point has yet to lose.

Gillis improved his record to 6-2. He walked only two.

At the plate, Gillis slapped a two-run single in the first inning after Austin Zavala and Micah Brown were hit by pitches and David Cofton walked.

Two more runs in the second made it 4-0, with Taylor Raff doing the damage. He had an RBI fielder's choice, stole second and came around on errors.

Brown was 3-for-3 and scored twice.

Grants Pass Diggers 000 000 0 — 0 4 2

North Medford 220 110 x — 6 6 1

Mathews, Fulton (5) and Leenknecht; Gillis and Zavala. W — Gillis (6-2). L — Mathews. 2B — NM: Berman.

14U A ASA WESTERN NATIONAL TOURNAMENT — At Hillsboro, Olivia Ryerson pitched a three-hitter in the first of two games for Crater, which was ousted with a loss in its second game of the day in the double-elimination, 76-team event.

Ryerson helped the Comets top the Paloma, Calif., Steel Breeze, 4-2, but Crater fell out of contention in bracket play after being dealt a 10-0 loss in six innings by Ewe Beach of Oahu, Hawaii. The Comets also lost on Thursday, the opening day of bracket play.

Ryerson allowed two unearned runs, walked two and struck out three. She was backed by Simone Smurzynski's two-run single in the third inning, which stretched Crater's lead to 3-0.

Against Ewe Beach, Crater's Courtney Martin broke up a no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the sixth inning.