Mustangs power up in twin bill sweep
Playing their first home games in nearly two weeks, the Medford Mustangs certainly had the feel Wednesday afternoon of an offense that missed hitting at the friendly confines of Lithia & Driveway Fields.
They didn’t wait long to show it, either.
The Mustangs gave their pitching staff plenty of runs to work with, recording a combined 29 hits — including five home runs and seven doubles — in 13-3 and 9-2 wins over the Roseburg Dr. Stewart’s to sweep the American Legion AAA Area 4 doubleheader.
Mustangs catcher Jeremiah Robbins hit two of those home runs, with three of the five hits on the day going for extra bases. Jace Miller, Tanner Douglas — who also allowed just two hits in 6 1/3 innings as he picked up the win on the mound in Game 2 — and Owen Thompson also homered as Medford (19-5) opened league play with a bang.
“It was a good day,” said Mustangs assistant John King, who was filling in for the under-the-weather Nate Mayben, Medford’s 12th-year manager. “We had a good trip to Reno and we got to see some really good pitching, which is always going to help us. We swung the bats really well in the first game and we played good defense. As long as we don’t make any errors, we’re going to be pretty tough to beat.”
The Mustangs have now won four straight since suffering a 4-2 loss to the Reno Knights at the Reno Tournament last Saturday. In those four wins, Medford has recorded three wins via the mercy rule and averaged over 11 runs a game.
Medford and Roseburg face each other again Thursday, this time heading north to Legion Field, with a twin bill set for 5 p.m.
“It was nice to get back,” King said of playing at home again. “It was a fun trip, but it’s always nice to let the kids get to sleep in their bed right before opening up league. There’s not a lot of games in league this year, so every game really, really matters.”
Game 1 starting pitcher Cameron Sewell and Douglas again saw their offense come through early and often. That was especially the case for Sewell, who saw leadoff man Cody Borraggine score on an error before Douglas and Robbins each hit two-run home runs to put Medford up 5-0 before an out was recorded in the bottom of the first.
Robbins, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs in Game 1, broke things open with a two-run double in the fourth.
Borraggine was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run, while Sewell was 2-for-3 and Miller was 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored. Douglas also finished 2-for-3 with a homer and drove in three.
The top five hitters in Medford’s lineup — Borraggine, Sewell, Douglas, Miller and Robbins — combined for 11 of the Mustangs’ 15 hits in Game 1.
“The top of the lineup, they always set stuff up for us,” King said. ”We’re really, really tough at the top and when the bottom guys get on base, we’re really, really tough to beat. We’re going to put runs up. Seeing the pitching we saw this past weekend, that’s only going to help us.
“We’ve been swinging the bats well and the kids have been working hard in the cages trying to simplify stuff,” he continued. “Coach Mayben has really been talking to them about getting your pitch and taking every at-bat personal when you get out. The kids have been buying into that and they’ve been working hard.”
Sewell scattered seven hits over the course of his six-
inning complete game. Roseburg broke up his shutout bid with a three-run fifth inning to momentarily cut the deficit to 7-3, but he rebounded well to retire five of the last six batters he faced.
He finished with six strikeouts and walked one.
“Cam throws a lot of strikes,” King said. “There’s one inning where he got in a little bit of trouble, but he bounced right back. It’s always good to lead a series off with him because we’ve been preaching to our pitchers that we’ve got a really good defense and we’re pretty quick all around, so let your defense work, don’t try to strike everybody out and let them put the ball in play. Cam is really, really efficient doing that.”
Douglas followed suit with just one tough inning in an otherwise strong outing. The difference was the difficulty came in the first for the Mustangs’ left-hander,
Roseburg took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, only to see Medford go ahead 2-1 on Robbins’ two-run single to left.
The Mustangs stretched their lead to 4-2 with single runs in the fourth and fifth on a Sewell RBI single and Robbins’ solo home run to left.
Thompson hit Medford’s final home run of the day during the Mustangs’ five-run sixth, capping a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. Robbins went 3-for-3 with four RBI in Game 2, while Borraggine, Sewell, Miller and Frankie Rutigliano all had two hits.
Douglas tossed 6 1/3 innings of work before making way to Rutigliano, who got the final two outs of Game 2. Two of the three runs Douglas allowed were earned, while he struck out four and walked three.
“Tanner came out and struggled a little bit in the first inning, threw maybe 17 or 18 pitches in the first inning and then he bounced back with a six- or seven-pitch inning,” King said.
“Our pitchers know if they throw strikes and if we’re struggling to hit the ball, at some point we’re going to start hitting it. We’ve got a pretty tough lineup to maneuver through, and it’s always nice when you’ve got that big lead because then you don’t have to be so fine and your pitchers can just throw it instead of going to the thirds or the black.”
Roseburg Dr. Stewart’s 000 030 — 3 7 1
Medford Mustangs 500 242 — 13 15 1
Corbin, Ledbetter (5) and Hubbard; Sewell and Robbins. W — Sewell. L — Corbin. 2B — R: Tatone 2; M: Robbins, Miller. HR — M: Douglas, Robbins, Miller.
Roseburg Dr. Stewart’s 100 001 0 — 2 3 0
Medford Mustangs 200 115 x — 9 14 1
Tatone, White (6) and Burke; Douglas, Rutigliano (7) and Robbins. W — Douglas. L — Tatone. 2B — R: Johnson 2; M: Borraggine, Rutigliano, Thompson, King, Miller. HR — M: Thompson, Robbins.
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.