North, South split SWC twin bill
Receiving limited offensive support, Larson Kindreich needed to be nearly perfect on the mound for the North Medford baseball team to get the edge on South Medford in the opener of their Southwest Conference doubleheader Saturday.
Kindreich obliged with a four-hit shutout as the Black Tornado eked out a 1-0 win at Harry & David Field.
The Panthers (2-6, 1-2 SWC), however, staved off a sweep in the nightcap by taking advantage of seven Black Tornado errors to snap an 11-game losing streak to North Medford (5-3, 2-1) with a 5-4 victory.
Not only did Kindreich grind through seven innings without allowing a walk to go with three strikeouts, he accounted for North Medford’s lone run in the first inning in what turned out to be a pitcher’s duel with South’s Brandon Letendre and Ethan Whitney.
Kindreich walked, stole second base and advanced to third base on a wild pitch to get things rolling in Game 1. Tate Cowden brought him home on a bunt to put North Medford up, 1-0.
“He was pretty much a bulldog on the mound,” said Wolfe of Kindreich. “I liked his ability to pitch downhill and he didn’t make many mistakes. He used his change-up very well and he didn’t issue any free passes. All their hitters had to earn their way on. He was getting ahead on his fastball.”
South Medford’s Letendre wasn’t too shabby in his own right as he did a good job keeping North Medford in check through five innings. He allowed five hits and two walks with a strikeout.
Dakota Adams was 3-for-3 for the Black Tornado, and Jaalen Owens had half of the Panthers’ four hits, going 2-for-2.
The Tornado's attempt at a sweep was handcuffed by the seven errors.
“One or two I can get, but seven, that’s unacceptable,” said Wolfe. “In essence, with seven errors, you give them seven more at-bats. We kicked that game away and we have too much experience to do that. We beat ourselves by giving them extra runs.”
South Medford’s Cole Carder scored the go-ahead run on Whitney’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the sixth inning and, with two outs in the top of the seventh, Panthers pitcher Jack Thompson struck out Kindreich to finalize the back-and-forth victory.
“I guess the theme of the day was we didn’t get timely hitting and we didn’t square up balls to drive runs in,” said Wolfe. “You have to have quality at-bats. We left the bases open in innings four and five, both times ahead 2-0 in counts and we swing at balls out of the zone and let them off the hook.”
After the Panthers tied the game at 3-all in the bottom of the third, they regained their lead in the fifth inning on Christian Mahoney’s run-scoring single to center field that plated Thompson, who had reached on a Black Tornado infield error.
North Medford knotted the score for the final time at 4-all when Kasey Buchanan’s RBI single plated Berry Hunt in the sixth inning.
Hunter Bradford led the way for the Panthers in Game 2, going 3-for-4, while Carder and Whitney collected two hits apiece.
North’s Buchanan finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Honus Kindreich had a pair of doubles and drove in a run.
L. Kindreich and Wolff; Letendre, Whitney (6) and Mahoney. W — L. Kindreich (2-0). L — Letendre (0-3).
Hunt and Wolff; Thompson and Mahoney. W — Thompson (1-0). L — Hunt (0-3). 2B — NM: H. Kindreich 2.
Reach reporter Warren Blenkush at 541-776-4492 or email@example.com