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Panthers prevail in battle of SWC leaders

EUGENE — Jacob Melton drove in the eventual winning run in the sixth inning, then struck out the side in the seventh to preserve a 5-4 baseball victory for South Medford over South Eugene Tuesday in a matchup of the Southwest Conference’s top teams.

The Panthers (8-3, 5-0 SWC) took a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning when Jaron Emerson doubled to right field, moved to third base on a fielder’s choice and scored on Melton’s hit.

Melton replaced starter Robby Carle in the final inning and set down the Axemen (9-6, 4-3) for his second save.

South Medford overcame three errors.

“It was just one of those hard-fought wins,” said Panthers coach Ray Smith. “We booted the ball around a couple of times to keep them close and let them get some runs. Robby Carle did a heck of a job to keep them down, and we held them off.”

Melton was 2-for-2 and scored three runs. He walked once and was hit by a pitch.

Emerson was 2-for-3, and Jack Thompson drove in two runs with sacrifice flies.

South Medford 102 011 0 — 5 8 3

South Eugene 200 011 0 — 4 9 0

Carle, Melton (7) and Thompson; Boettcher and Brown. W — Carle (2-0). L — Boettcher. S — Melton (2). 2B — SM: Owens, Emerson.

NORTH MEDFORD 2, GRANTS PASS 0: At Grants Pass, Brandon King tossed a three-hit shutout and also went 3-for-3 to pace North Medford to the SWC victory at Grants Pass High.

The Black Tornado senior pitcher had three strikeouts and four walks.

North Medford (8-4, 4-2 SWC) scored both runs in the first inning. Quinton Rumrey reached base on an error to open the game and King doubled. Rumrey scored on Ryan Sandoval’s groundout and Josh Robbins plated King with a sacrifice fly.

Nate Morgan, a senior pitcher, went the distance, allowing five hits and no earned runs for Grants Pass (3-10, 0-5).

North Medford 200 000 0 — 2 5 3

Grants Pass 000 000 0 — 0 3 2

King and Robbbins; Morgan and Dinkel. W — King (2-2). L — Morgan. 2B — NM: King.

THURSTON 8, CRATER 7: At Springfield, in a matchup of Midwestern League unbeatens, Thurston scored five runs in the first inning and led 8-0 before Crater threw a scare into the Colts.

Crater scored twice in the seventh inning and had the tying run at second base before Thurston (8-4, 7-0 MWL) closed it out.

Trae Frodge hit a two-run double in the seventh for Crater (10-2, 6-1), scoring Larson Kindreich, who reached on a fielder’s choice, and Nick Bastendorff, who singled. A strikeout of Jacob Memmott ended the game.

Bastendorff was 3-for-4 with a home run — his second of the season — two RBIs and two runs.

Crater 000 050 2 — 7 7 2

Thurston 500 300 x — 8 5 0

Kindreich, Lacey (3), Hollingsworth (5) and Lawrence; Ward, Duran (7) and Burke. W — Ward. L — Kindreich (3-1). 2B — C: Kindreich, Frodge; T: Duran. HR — C: Bastendorff (2) .

CHURCHILL 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eagle Point, Skyler Gaudern pitched well for Eagle Point but the Eagles were unable to solve Churchill ace Cole Wilkinson, who fell one out shy of pitching a perfect game in Midwestern League play.

Gaudern pitched a complete game, allowing three runs — all in the fifth inning — on five hits and three walks. He also got the Eagles (5-5, 4-3 MWL) out of two bases-loaded situations early in the contest.

Wilkinson’s perfect game bid was broken up by a single from the Eagles’ Dylan Marsh with two outs in the sixth inning.

Churchill 000 030 0 — 3 5 0

Eagle Point 000 000 0 — 0 1 2

Wilkinson and Jones; Gaudern and Alves. W — Wilkinson. L — Gaudern (3-1). 2B — CH: Edwards.

NORTH EUGENE 1, ASHLAND 0: At Ashland, Ashland’s Eli Westrick suffered a tough-luck loss in a pitcher’s duel with Cam Parks, who carried North Eugene to a Midwestern League victory.

Westrick went the distance, striking out three while allowing one unearned run on three hits and three walks for the Grizzlies (0-9, 0-7 MWL).

Westrick’s counterpart Parks got the complete-game shutout, backed only by a run scored on an Ashland error in the second inning.

North Eugene 010 000 0 — 1 3 2

Ashland 000 000 0 — 0 3 1

Parks and Belmont-Smith; Westrick and Evans. W — Parks. L — Westrick. 2B — A: Reynolds, Brown.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 7, ILLINOIS VALLEY 1: Kyle Reece was 3-for-3 with one RBI to help spur a 13-hit attack as Cascade Christian opened Southern Cascade League play with a win at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

Joel McLemore went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Gunnar Thompson was 2-for-4 for the Challengers (2-6, 1-0 SCL), who saw Sam Martin and McLemore combine on a two-hitter with error-free defense against the Cougars (0-6, 0-1).

Illinois Valley 100 000 0 — 1 2 1

Cascade Christian 001 240 x — 7 13 0

Bruner, Alvarez (6) and Bell; Martin, McLemore (5) and Thompson. W — Martin (2-0). L — Bruner. 2B — IV: McLannan RBI; CC: Reece, Thompson. 3B — CC: Reece.

LAKEVIEW 10, ST. MARY’S 3: At Lakeview, St. Mary’s opened the Southern Cascade League season with the setback.

The Crusaders dropped to 1-4 overall. Lakeview is 5-7.

UMPQUA VALLEY 22, PROSPECT 0: At Roseburg, Prospect dropped to 0-4 in District 4.

The Cougars are 0-5 overall.