Mustangs keep it interesting at Coach K Memorial
The Medford Mustangs opened a big lead Saturday but was left to hold on thereafter for the second straight day in running their record to 2-1 in the fourth annual Coach K Memorial baseball tournament at North Medford High.
The Mustangs scored four runs in the second and third innings against the visiting River Park Eagles from Sacramento, California, to build an 8-0 advantage similar to Friday’s clash with the Chico Nuts.
Saturday’s game again got a little closer than Medford likely wanted, but the local boys were able to fend off the Eagles for a 9-6 win.
“They took advantage of it once they got a few guys on base,” said Mustangs manager Nate Mayben, “and we struggled a little bit there in the middle, but then Darin Marsh came in and pitched real well for us again to close out today’s game like he did yesterday (in a 9-7 win).”
Results of a second game Saturday for the Mustangs (22-5), slated to begin at 8 p.m. against the Mudville 9, were not available as of press time.
Medford got off to another quality start, thanks in part to the pitching of left-hander Tanner Douglas and a versatile offensive attack that took advantage however it could.
Aiden Horsley reached on an error and was followed by infield singles from Jeremiah Robbins and Chase Costanti before Ian Wood dropped a two-run single into right field to get things going in the second inning.
In the third, singles by Robbins, Wood and Josh Baptiste set the table for Rowan Amann, who came through with a two-run double to keep momentum on Medford’s side.
“We did a really good job in that first four-run inning of executing the small-ball game that resulted in the first three runs,” said Mayben, “and then in the next inning we were able to hit the baseball a little bit and score a few more runs. I liked our intent at the plate, we did a really good job of hitting today.”
Douglas was also in a groove on the mound during that span for the Mustangs. The South Medford High product pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit with four strikeouts and one walk.
“Tanner had a really good outing,” said Mayben. “He struggled the last couple times he’s been out but today he did a really good job of changing some things with his mechanics and being a little bit smoother and executed really well. He threw a lot of strikes and that was good to see because we need him to get back on track.”
River Park cut into its 8-0 deficit with one run in the fourth inning and then three more in the fifth, which featured a lost ball in the sun for a pair of unearned runs against Cody Borraggine.
It was 9-4 in the sixth when Marsh came into the equation, initially allowing two runs before shutting the door in the seventh with three up and three down.
Wood finished 2-for-2 with one run and two RBIs, while Amann was 2-for-3 with one run and two RBIs.
Robbins also finished with two hits, and Borraggine joined Baptiste with RBI efforts on Day 3 of the four-day tournament in honor of former Mustangs manager Sandee Kensinger, who died suddenly on Aug. 14, 2017, at age 59.
Triple-digit temperatures and close games have highlighted this year’s competition, which is spread between North Medford High, U.S. Cellular Community Park, Harry & David Field and Reinhart Volunteer Park in Grants Pass.
“It’s been good to get an opportunity to play a lot of guys and move some guys around and see some different looks and some different teams,” Mayben said of the Oregon versus California squad setup. “The guys are doing a good job of competing.”
“It’s a grind for sure,” he added after his team’s 11th game in seven days, “but they’re doing a good job of grinding through the heat and the games. I’m excited about what I’m seeing; I like our depth right now all across the board on the mound and defensively. This has been really good for us.”
There will no rest for the weary, however, with Saturday’s second game still on the docket for the Mustangs, along with this morning’s tournament finale at 9 a.m. against Siskiyou Post 122 before a pair of key Area 4 doubleheaders with the Grants Pass Nuggets on Monday and Tuesday.
River Park Eagles044010x—991
Timithy, Meyer (4) and Christainsen; Douglas, Borraggine (4), Marsh (6) and Robbins. W — Douglas. L — Timithy. 2B — RP: Rogalski; M: Amann.
Have a local story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry