South clinches state playoff berth
South Medford took care of business in the first game of a Southwest Conference baseball doubleheader against Grants Pass on Friday.
The Panthers defeated the Cavemen 4-2 in the opener at Harry & David Field to tie for third place in the SWC and clinched an automatic berth into the Class 6A state playoffs. In the second game, South rested some of its starters and lost 15-2 in five innings.
South Medford (11-15, 10-11 SWC), which was picked for fifth in the conference in a preseason coaches’ poll, will open the playoffs on May 23. Last year, the Panthers lost a play-in game to Newberg.
“It’s certainly a good accomplishment with a fairly young team in a difficult league,” said South Medford coach Ray Smith. “After a 2-7 start after the first three weeks, we were able to climb back in it.”
In Game 1, Jack Thompson (3-2) tossed a complete game for South Medford.
“Jack Thompson battled through some tough spots and got some key outs,” said Smith. “We made some plays and got some hits when we needed it.”
The Panthers grabbed the lead on Hunter Bradford’s RBI single in the first inning. Cole Carder, who singled then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jaalen Owens, scored to give South a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers scored two more in the second inning to go up 3-0.
Jaylin Parnell opened the second with a base hit and stole second. Ethan Whitney followed with a single to centerfield to put runners on first and third. Then Carder scored Parnell on a sacrifice fly. After Owens singled, Whitney scored what proved to be the winning run when catcher Drew Bjorn’s throw to second went into centerfield on Owens’ steal attempt.
Christian Mahoney’s RBI single scored Jacob Melton with an insurance run in the third inning after Tyler Rund knocked in two runs with a single for Grants Pass in the top of the frame.
In the second game, Jake Stoffel had two hits and two RBIs to lead Grants Pass (11-14, 7-15). Brennen Lauffenburger had two hits and scored three runs and Logan Zozaya added two hits and two runs for the Cavemen.
Skyler Loogman had two hits and two RBIs for South and Brandon Letendre collected two hits.
Bradford’s two-out single in the first inning extended the senior’s hitting streak to 12 games.
Ekwall and Bjorn, Padgett (2), Bjorn (5); Thompson and Mahoney. W — Thompson (3-2). L — Ekwall.
D’Amico and Bjorn, Padgett (5); DeVries, Letendre (3) and Mahoney. W — D’Amico. L — DeVries (0-5). 2B — GP: Stoffel; SM: Loogman. 3B — GP: Ekwall, Zozaya.
CRATER 8-3, NORTH EUGENE 6-8: At Eugene, Shay Hall went 3-for-4 with one run and Nick Bastendorff 2-for-3 with one run and two RBIs to help Crater win the opener and clinch an outright Midwestern League title.
Jake Cartwright was 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI in Game 1 for Crater (18-8, 14-4 MWL).
In Game 2, Caine Smith was 3-for-4 with two runs and a solo home run and Sean Bartlett was 2-for-3 with one RBI. North Eugene (10-14, 6-12) scored seven fifth-inning runs on four hits and three walks to rally.
Swartout, Boivin (5) and Bartlett; Ahlstrom, Pruett (5) and Hertz. W — Swartout. L — Ahlstrom. 2B — NE: Proudfit.
Ne. Bastendorff, Boivin (6) and Smith; Ruben and Hertz. W — Ruben. L — Ne. Bastendorff. 2B — C: Smith; NE: Proudfit 2, Nation. HR — C: Smith (1).
PROSPECT 15-24, NORTH LAKE 0-3: At Silver Lake, Wade May was perfect at the plate in the doubleheader victory as Prospect won a pair of five-inning games and clinched the 2A/1A District 4 championship.
Prospect (14-2, 13-1 Dist. 4) will host a state playoff game on May 25.
May was 6-for-6 with three RBIs and six runs scored in the twin bill.
Devin Sheile tossed a two-hit shutout in the opener. Roo Driskill and Cole Hunsley each had two hits, two RBIs and two runs.
In Game 2, Sheile contributed three hits with four runs and three RBIs. Driskill had another two-hit game and Luke McGonagle walked four times, scored four runs and drove in two.
Sheile and Scofield; Shumway, Waldron (3) and Baert. W — Sheile (4-0). L — Shumway. 2B — P: McGonagle, Driskell 2, Hunsley.
Pinkerton, May (4) and Scofield; Grassman, Waldron (3), McCord (4), Pierson (5) and Gilbert. W — Pinkerton (6-2). L — Grassman. 2B — P: Scofield, McGonagle, Driskell. 3B — NL: McCord.
NORTH MEDFORD 12-20, SOUTH EUGENE 0-2: Sarah Thomas pitched a five-inning no-hitter in the opener with 10 strikeouts and three walks and North Medford pounded out seven doubles among 19 hits overall in Game 2 to complete the Southwest Conference-ending sweep at North Medford High.
Tra Kucera combined to go 3-for-8 with five RBIs, while Ashley Ripplinger was 5-for-5 with five runs and four RBIs, Teanna Gonsalves 6-for-7 with two runs and four RBIs, Olivia Lethlean went 3-for-7 with three runs and four RBIs, Gabby Rosales 3-for-6 with four runs and four RBIs, Rylan Austin 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs and Cassie Campbell 3-for-6 with three runs.
The SWC champion Black Tornado improved to 23-2 overall and 19-2 in league with the sweep of South Eugene (4-21, 2-19).
Clark and Kochever; Thomas and Kucera. W — Thomas. L — Clark. 2B — NM: Gonsalves 2, Salvador, Austin, Ripplinger. 3B — NM: Lethlean, Kucera.
Clark and Mick; Gonsalves and Kucera. W — Gonsalves. L — Clark. 2B — SE: McAninch; NM: Campbell, Gonsalves, Miles, Rosales, Kucera 2, Ripplinger.
SOUTH MEDFORD 12-8, WILLAMETTE 0-0: Pat Moore was 3-for-3 with one run and five RBIs in the opener and Bailee Tatum was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI in Game 2 as South Medford swept the Southwest Conference twin bill at South Medford High.
Moore combined with Bekah Britton on a five-inning no-hitter in Game 1 for the Panthers (18-7, 14-7 SWC), with Moore striking out eight and walking three in four innings while Britton had one strikeout.
Jaden Alexander had a solo home run to cap a four-run first inning, while Jeryka Johnson was 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI and Jewel Burgoyne-Russell had a two-run double in the third.
In Game 2, Moore struck out 13 and allowed her lone hit of the day by Willamette (2-23, 1-20) with two outs in the top of the seventh inning to Makala Wolf. Moore also walked four and hit three, and Alexander had an RBI double for the third-place Panthers.
Deffenbacher, Bright (5) and Bartlett; Moore, Britton (5) and Tatum. W — Moore (17-7). L — Deffenbacher. 2B — SM: Burgoyne-Russell, Moore 2. HR — SM: Alexander (5).
Zepeda, Deffenbacher (2), Zepeda (6) and Wolf; Moore and Tatum. W — Moore (18-7). L — Zepeda. 2B — SM: Alexander.
CRATER WINS BY FORFEIT: North Eugene forfeited the final two Midwestern League games of the season to Crater, moving the Comets to 13-13 overall and 10-8 in MWL play.
PROSPECT 6, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 5: At Prospect, Raleigh Weaver was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and allowed two hits with seven strikeouts and five walks in 5⅓ innings to pace Prospect in the nonleague victory.
Katie Munsell struck out two, walked two and allowed one hit to close out the game for Prospect (15-6), and Chrystyna Smith was 2-for-3 with one RBI.
Shaylee Ledesma struck out 10, walked three and allowed six hits in going the distance for Cascade Christian (16-4). Mariah Miller and Baylee Plankenhorn each drove in a run for the Challengers, who left 10 runners on base.
Ledesma and Bogue; Weaver, Munsell (6) and H. Kuykendall. W — Weaver (9-5). L — Ledesma. S — Munsell (3). 2B — CC: Ledesma. 3B — P: Smith.