Mustangs close in on Area 4 crown
EUGENE — After dropping the first game of a four-game road trip, the Medford Mustangs found their groove and it all started from the mound for the American Legion AAA baseball team.
A day after Berry Hunt pitched a complete-game shutout in Game 2 against Eugene, Mustangs pitchers Ethan Whitney and Joe Johnson matched him with a pair of shutouts of their own as Medford inched closer toward the Area 4 title with 4-0 and 5-0 wins over Willamette Valley on Saturday.
Whitney struck out six, walked one and allowed two hits in the opener, and Johnson struck out seven with one walk and seven hits allowed in the nightcap.
“They did a phenomenal job,” said Mustangs manager Nate Mayben of his pitchers. “It makes it look easy when you can throw strikes. That’s been our biggest problem. When we get in trouble it’s typically because our pitchers are getting behind hitters and giving up free bases but those guys today had all their pitches working.”
Nick Sanderson and Hunt each had RBI doubles in the first inning of Game 1 to get Medford (29-8-1, 14-4 Area 4) off to a fast start. Hunt and Cole Carder each finished 2-for-4 and Jacob Melton was 2-for-3.
In Game 2, Charles Little went 3-for-3 with one RBI, Hunt was 2-for-3 and Carder went 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI.
A win by Medford on Tuesday against Klamath Falls or a Grants Pass loss guarantees the Mustangs the Area 4 title. They are already secured a top-two seed.
Whitney and Little; Wonham, White (4), Sayre (6) and Crist. W — Whitney. L — Wonham. 2B — M: Melton, Sanderson, Hunt, Carder.
Johnson and Little, Turnbull (5); Molaski, Thoreson (4), Bates (6), White (7) and Burke. W — Johnson. L — Molaski. 2B — M: Cowden, Carder; WV: Elliott.
American Legion A
NORTH MEDFORD 20-11, PHOENIX 3-1: Jon-o Gassman combined to go 4-for-7 with four runs and four RBIs and pitched a two-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk in the opener as North Medford swept a pair of Area 4 games in five innings apiece at North Medford High.
With the wins, the Mavericks clinched the Area 4 title at 20-2 in league and 28-4 overall.
Zack Collins was 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs in the opener, while Quinton Rumrey was 2-for-2 with one run and three RBIs in Game 2. Nicholas Mastroni struck out four with two walks and six hits allowed in Game 2 for North Medford.
Zenni, Spence (2), Boff (2) and Merriman; Gassman and Robbins. W — Gassman (5-0). L — Zenni. 2B — NM: Gassman, Collins.
Stellam, Beer (4) and Merriman; Mastroni and Robbins. W — Mastroni (5-0). L — Stellam. 2B — P: Stellam; NM: Gassman. 3B — NM: Huffman.
MEDFORD ROGUES 7, CHICO HEAT 5: At Chico, Calif., Medford hung on for the Great West League win.
The Rogues (29-12) led 6-2 before the Heat (23-12) scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Alex Isola and Dante Gutierrez each had three hits and Davis Delorefice and Johnny DeLaCruz both added two-run singles for Medford, which added a run in the ninth.
Starting pitcher Peyton Fuller went five innings, scattering six hits, striking out four and giving up two earned runs.
Taylor Frost pitched a four-out save, his eighth of the year.
Fuller, Hutchinson (6), Wilson (8), Frost (8) and Isola; Lee, Roundy (5), Gamboa (6) and Bath. W — Fuller (2-1). L — Lee (4-3). 2B — M: Delorefice; C: McCusker, Wilhite. 3B — M: Lowrie.