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Mustangs sweep away Nuggets with prolific attack

Medford posts double-digit hits in each game to overwhelm Grants Pass

Hitting has rarely been an issue for the Medford Mustangs this summer, but the groove Medford’s batters have been in as of late has been nothing short of dynamic.

The Mustangs continued that trend in a pair of doubleheader wins over Grants Pass this week, pounding out double-digit efforts against the Nuggets in each four games covering action Tuesday and Wednesday in American Legion AAA baseball play.

After the teams agreed to adjust this week’s schedule Monday due to heat-related concerns, the Mustangs swept Tuesday’s late doubleheader in Grants Pass with 19-11 and 11-3 victories.

They returned Wednesday morning to post six-inning mercy-rule wins of 10-0 and 13-3 over the Nuggets at North Medford High.

“We did a really good job at the plate of putting the ball in play and making good contact,” said Mustangs manager Nate Mayben, whose team produced 53 hits in 26 innings. “We were actually doing a good job with our pitch selection and being disciplined at the plate and that really worked well for us and obviously produced a lot of runs.”

Cody Borraggine led the barrage for Medford (28-5) by going a combined 9-for-18 with seven runs and nine RBIs in the four wins over GP, while Tanner Douglas pushed his team-best batting average to .460 by going 6-for-10 with six runs and six RBIs.

Wednesday’s outings marked a stretch of 17 games in 12 days for the Mustangs, who were host to the fourth annual Coach K Memorial tournament last week. The team embarks on a six-day, six-game road trip for the Reno Knights Fourth of July Tournament this morning.

A positive of the grueling stretch is that Mayben has been able to gauge the true depth of his team, and the local boys have not disappointed.

“It’s a grind and it’s a tough stretch,” he said, “but I’m impressed with our boys’ resilience and happy with how they showed up both days in these conditions and competed, especially after the short turnaround last night into today.”

“We’re going to get to a point where we have to solidify a lineup,” Mayben added, “but we’re getting guys reps and seeing what we’ve got and the versatility we have. Every single lineup we seem to put out there, guys are being productive at the plate. It’s going to be really difficult to kind of piece that lineup together here for July, but that’s a good problem.”

Douglas was a problem for the Grants Pass hitters in Wednesday’s opener, with the South Medford High product allowing five hits with two strikeouts and three walks in a complete-game effort.

“He looked really good early on and was able to use his curveball a lot today to get himself back in the zone,” said Mayben of the left-hander, “and late in the game he was able to use his fastball to finish it off. His last two outings have been really nice to see, getting him back in the zone and confident. We’re excited about the adjustments he’s made and have a lot of confidence in him out there on the mound.”

Medford gave Douglas plenty of cushion to work with thanks to a seven-run outburst in the third inning that included RBI efforts from the pitcher himself, Aiden Horsley, Jace Miller, Brandon Zanni, Rowan Amann and Borraggine.

In Wednesday’s opener, Borraggine finished 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, Douglas was 2-for-3 with one run and two RBIs and the Mustangs got two hits and two runs apiece from Horsley and Zanni.

Recent Crater graduate Payton Anhorn was 2-for-3 for the Nuggets.

During Game 2, Medford gave Trey Newmann, Zanni and Josh Baptiste two-inning stints on the mound to rest arms but still was able to limit the GP offense to three runs.

The Mustangs stormed to a 6-0 lead in the first inning and led 11-2 through three innings, with Douglas going 3-for-3 with three runs and three RBIs, Eli Westrick 2-for-3 with one run and two RBIs, Horsley 2-for-4 with one run and three RBIs and Miller 1-for-2 with three RBIs.

For GP in Game 2, Anhorn went 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI, South Medford product Tyler Dunlevy was 2-for-3 with one run and Crater’s Brandon Tibbils plated a run.

On Tuesday, the Mustangs led the opening game 19-0 through 3 1/2 innings but had to withstand an eight-run outburst by the Nuggets in the fourth and three more in the fifth before settling in for the 19-11 win.

Darin Marsh went 3-for-4 with three runs and one RBI, Baptiste was 3-for-3 with two runs and one RBI and Chase Costanti 2-for-3 with three runs and one RBI for Medford.

Other leading hitters included Borraggine (1-for-2, two runs, two RBIs), Horsley (two RBIs), Jeremiah Robbins (two RBIs), Amann (2-for-3) and Miller (two RBIs).

South Medford’s Cameron Sewell led the Nuggets’ push toward a potential comeback by going 2-for-3 with one run and four RBIs, while Andrew Eide, Anhorn and Ethan Elzy each drove in two runs for GP and former Comet Andy Lacey had two hits, one run and one RBI.

Tuesday’s nightcap didn’t have quite as dramatic of a turn, with Gavin Schmidt shaking off a two-run first inning by GP to ultimately strikeout 10 with four hits and four walks in five solid innings. Zanni came in to supply two scoreless innings of relief with one hit allowed against three strikeouts and one walk.

“Gavin was sharp last night,” said Mayben. “He had good velocity on his fastball, and his curveball and changeup were in the zone. And when his curveball is in the zone, he’s really effective because it’s tough to pick up.”

Borraggine went 3-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs, Horsley was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Marsh 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI to lead Medford in Game 2.

For the Nuggets, Eide went 2-for-3 while Ashton Durler and Tibbils each drove in a run.

FIRST GAME

Grants Pass Nuggets000000—053

Medford Mustangs107011—10111

Randolph, Gants (6) and Lacey; Douglas and Zanni. W — Douglas (5-1). L — Randolph. 2B — M: Borraggine 2, Horsley.

SECOND GAME

Grants Pass Nuggets002010—381

Medford Mustangs623101—13152

Painter, Durler (3), Lacey (6) and Lacey; Newmann, Zanni (3), Baptiste (5) and Robbins. W — Newmann (3-0). L — Painter. 2B — GP: Anhorn 2; M: Borraggine, Douglas.

Tuesday’s Results

FIRST GAME

Medford Mustangs0829000—19171

Grants Pass Nuggets0008300—11103

Balsiger, King (4), Marsh (5) and Robbins, Zanni (4); Eide, Elzy (3) and Lacey. W — Balsiger (3-0). L — Eide. 2B — M: Miller, Robbins, Schmidt; GP: Sewell 2, Eide. HR — GP: Anhorn.

SECOND GAME

Medford Mustangs0032132—11100

Grants Pass Nuggets2001000—352

Schmidt, Zanni (6) and Robbins; Dunlevy, Gants (5), Durler (7) and Lacey. W — Schmidt (4-0). L — Dunlevy. 2B — M: Amann, Westrick; GP: Lacey, Tibbils. 3B — GP: Durler. HR — M: Borraggine (1).

Have a local story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Medford Mustangs first baseman Tanner Douglas, shown recently against Humboldt, ran his batting average to a team-best .460 with a steady effort against Grants Pass. ANDY ATKINSON / MAIL TRIBUNE