BASEBALL/SOFTBALL: South Medford falls in state playoffs
TIGARD — Bennett Smith supplied his biggest game of the season for South Medford and the 23rd-seeded Panthers put a scare into No. 10 Tigard before falling short, 7-6, in the first round of the Class 6A baseball state playoffs.
The senior first baseman had a two-run double during a three-run first inning that got South Medford (13-14) off on the right foot against Three Rivers League standout senior CJ Rivers. In the sixth inning with his team down 7-3, Smith came up clutch once again with a three-run home run to narrow the gap and allow him to finish 2-for-3 with one run and five RBIs.
“Down 7-3 and not really sure if we were going to be in it, that big-time three-run homer there got us right back in the ballgame,” said first-year South Medford coach Josh Moody, whose team tied for second in the Southwest Conference. “That was huge.”
The Panthers went on to put the game-tying and go-ahead runs on base in the seventh inning when Trevor Marthoski had a one-out single and Steven Ledendecker was hit by a Rivers pitch. Bennett Thompson followed with a hard grounder that was turned into a game-ending double play.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my guys,” said Moody. “We were maybe a few inches away in that last at-bat. Their pitcher made a geat pitch on a 2-0 changeup and our No. 3 hitter (Thompson) hit it hard right back them and they turned the double play. That’s the way baseball goes, but it was a really fun, competive game against a really, really good team.”
Thompson earlier had an RBI single in the first inning and finished 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI. He also held his own on the mound, allowing only four earned runs after a pair of errors opened the door for Tigard to build its cushion with three runs apiece in the third and fifth innings.
“We’ve been coaching all year, whether up three or up 10 or they’re up 10, it doesn’t matter,” added Moody. “Until the umpire calls the final out, we’re going to play just the same. Our goal was to peak at the end of the season and even though we lost, I think that was the best ballgame we’ve played all year.”
Thompson and Ledendecker; Rivers and Barbee. W — Rivers. L — Thompson. 2B — SM: Smith, Thompson; T: Stinson, Kreisberg, Rivers. HR — SM: Smith.
BEAVERTON 1, NORTH MEDFORD 0: At Beaverton, North Medford senior Ryan Sandoval pitched one of his top games of the season but Beaverton scored the game’s lone run in the seventh to win the Class 6A playoff game in walk-off fashion.
Sandoval allowed four this with five strikeouts and two walks for the 25th-seeded Black Tornado (12-13).
Beaverton pitcher Kellen O’Connor allowed a second-inning single to Ryan Kloek and a sixth-inning single to Cody Borraggine and posted eight strikeouts with two walks and one hit batter.
After a leadoff walk and sacrifice bunt, Cooper Martineau plated the game-winner for the No. 8 Beavers (21-6) on a drive down the first base line.
Sandoval and Passey; O’Connor and P. Forrester. W — O’Connor. L — Sandoval.
LAKERIDGE 10, GRANTS PASS 5: At Lake Oswego, No. 26 seed Grants Pass saw its season come to a close in the first round of the 6A playoffs, dropping the Cavemen to 14-13 overall.
Seventh-seeded Lakeridge (19-9) advances to face No. 10 Tigard in the second round Wednesday.
MCNARY 5, NORTH MEDFORD 4: At Salem, McNary’s Alexa Cepeda belted a three-run double to cap a four-run sixth inning and rally past 19th-seeded North Medford in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
North Medford (13-14) had built a 4-1 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth, with senior Kyleigh Lopez finishing 4-for-4 with three runs, Shahar Miles 3-for-4 with one run and Lauren Barry driving in two runs.
Chelby Smalley also went 2-for-4 with one RBI against No. 14 McNary (20-8).
Ivens, Austin (6) and Smalley; Danner and Martin. W — Danner. L — Ivens. 2B — NM: Miles; M: Cepeda.
SUNSET 4, SOUTH MEDFORD 1: At Portland, South Medford loaded the bases in the sixth inning with no outs but could only convert on a sacrifice fly by Rikiya Bratcher and fell short of its upset bid against No. 2 seed Sunset in the first round of the state playoffs.
Matlyn Leetch went 2-for-3 and the 31st-seeded Panthers (8-19) also got singles from Cassie Fleming and Katelyn McLeod.
Sunset (22-5) broke the game open in the sixth on a two-run double by Kate Fogle.
Dalke and Bratcher; Kimball and Wier. W — Kimball. L — Dalke (3-8). 2B — S: Fogle.
GRANTS PASS 20, ALOHA 2, 5 inn.: At Grants Pass, Grants Pass exploded for 16 hits, including four home runs, in only four turns at the plate in the first-round Class 6A game.
Brooklyn Hurd was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs for the top-seeded Cavers (24-3), who host Mountainside of Beaverton Wednesday. Mountainside (15-12) downed Central Catholic, 6-2.
Grants Pass’ Toni Stevens was 3-for-3 with a homer, a double and two RBIs, and Grace Gaither had two hits, three RBIs and a home run. Devin Ireland homered, tripled, had two RBIs and three runs, and Maddie Naylor had the other homer.
Hutchinson, Moseley (4) and Fritz; Padgett and Stevens. W — Padgett. L — Hutchinson. 2B — GP: Stevens, Hurd. 3B — GP: Ireland. HR — A: Belog; GP: Stevens, Naylor, Gaither, Ireland.