Mavericks edge Comets in extra innings
NORTH BEND — North Medford and Central Point waged a tight back-and-forth battle Saturday at the American Legion A state tournament before the Mavericks finally closed out the Comets in extra innings to keep their championship hopes alive at Clyde Allen Field.
Central Point scored a seventh-inning run to extend the game, then went ahead in the eighth before North Medford had the final say in the bottom half of the frame to claim a 7-6 triumph.
The win advanced the Mavericks to a 1 p.m. game today against La Grande, with the winner earning the right to square off with Central Point at 4 p.m. for the state championship.
North Medford (48-17) has responded with three straight wins after facing elimination following a tournament-opening loss, while Saturday's result marked the first tourney loss for the Comets (46-7). La Grande beat Roseburg Premier 6-3 on Saturday to earn its spot in final-day action.
Central Point responded to a 5-3 deficit with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Comets tied it in their final regulation at-bat after Taylor Tibbets beat out a potential game-ending double play and then advanced to second on a single by Taylor Pardee. North Medford pitcher Micah Brown then tried to pick off Pardee at first base but his throw was in the dirt and ultimately scooted down the right field line to allow Tibbets to score. Brown then induced a groundout by Paul Turner.
In the top of the eighth, Tanner Ryerson doubled for the Comets and Evan Erskine smacked a one-out single to give Central Point a 6-5 advantage.
Not to be outdone, the Mavericks roared back with a pair of runs to win it in the bottom of the eighth.
Jared Evans supplied a leadoff single and advanced to second when the ball got past left fielder Blake Fahndrich. The Comets tried to get Evans at third on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Berman but the ball sailed into left field to allow Evans to score the tying run and put Berman on second. Brett Pearson then reached safely when his sacrifice bunt stopped just inside fair territory without a play, and a stolen base against a drawn-in infield put runners on second and third. After a groundout by Troy Fowler left runners where they were, Taylor Raff hit a 1-0 pitch from Nolan Bastendorff into right field for a walk-off single.
Tyler Aplin was 2-for-5 with one RBI and Ryerson 2-for-4 with two runs for the Comets.
Austin Zavala went 3-for-3 with one run and one RBI, Brown was 2-for-3 with one run and two RBIs and Christian Gillis 2-for-4 with one RBI for the Mavericks.
Central Point 210 001 11 — 6 11 2
North Medford 220 100 02 — 7 9 3
Bastendorff and Aplin; Brown, Evans (8) and Zavala. W — Evans (5-0). L — Bastendorff. 2B — CP: Ryerson; NM: Zavala, Brown, Gillis, Berman.