PREP BASEBALL/SOFTBALL: North rallies for SOC tourney title
Trailing 4-0 early against a softball team that has won 10 straight games isn’t typically a recipe for success, but none of that mattered Saturday for North Medford.
The Black Tornado used a four-run third inning to tie visiting Roseburg and then posted a go-ahead run in the fifth to rally for a 5-4 victory in the championship game of the season-ending Southern Oregon Conference tournament.
“That just kind of showed the resilience of the group we had this year and how they could battle back from anything,” said North Medford coach Chris Campbell. “We were hoping to just chip away but we came up to the plate with a purpose in the third and put four back on them to tie the game and then battled it out from there.”
A two-run single in the first inning by Kami Gibson and RBIs by Jazmyn Murphy and Stephanie Blix allowed Roseburg (14-4) to build its early 4-0 advantage.
North Medford used a leadoff single by Samara Miles and walk to Neveah Smith to set the stage for its third-inning outburst.
Senior Matlyn Leetch came through with an RBI single to finally break through against Gibson inside the circle, then Shahar Miles supplied a momentum-building two-run double before Hannah Drysdale later added a two-out RBI single.
“We still had runners in scoring position (after Leetch’s hit) and we needed to push across another run or two,” said Campbell, “and Shahar came up — as she has all year — with a big hit and that got us into a tie game from there.”
North Medford then turned the pitching duties over to freshman Gabby Urban and she answered the call in fine fashion, striking out 10 with only one hit allowed in four scoreless innings of relief of junior starter Alyssa Hartzhiem.
“Both those girls are very competitive and both want the ball in the circle,” said Campbell. “Alyssa had done a really good job against them in the doubleheader (earlier this season) so we wanted to put her out there first knowing that we could always bring Gabby in to finish it off because they’ve never seen her before.”
What Roseburg didn’t see was a ball hit out of the infield off Urban for 11 straight batters until she finally allowed a one-out seventh-inning single by Emma Murphy.
“That’s a kid that just comes in and competes,” Campbell said of Urban. “She has a lot of good movement on her ball that’s hard to hit. She did an excellent job for us coming in and shutting things down and keeping that run total down to preserve that victory.”
With Roseburg in a standstill, the Black Tornado registered its go-ahead run in the fifth inning when Shahar Miles walked, moved to second base on a groundout by Sara Hamlin and didn’t break stride in scoring on a two-out infield single up the middle by Drysdale.
On the play, Drysdale’s medium roller was actually snared on a diving backhand effort by second baseman Jazmyn Murphy, but she couldn’t get up and relay a throw to first base quick enough to beat a hustling Drysdale.
Roseburg loaded the bases with its single in the seventh followed by an error and a fielder’s choice before Urban struck out Gibson and Jazmyn Murphy to end it.
“It just was a really great season for all those kids with a lot of hard work and determination getting through all the COVID things,” said Campbell. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Gibson, Blix (5) and Williams; Hartzhiem, Urban (4) and Lawton. W — Urban. L — Gibson. 2B — R: E. Muprhy; NM: Sh. Miles.
SOUTH MEDFORD 2, GRANTS PASS 0: At Grants Pass, South Medford freshman pitcher Kacee Hudson hurled a four-hitter as the Panthers placed third in the season-ending SOC tournament.
Hudson piled up 11 strikeouts and didn’t walk anyone in the dominant performance, lifting South Medford’s record to 5-12. Grants Pass finished 9-8.
Grants Pass’ most serious threat was in the third inning, when Alexa Medley and Sophie Woodburn, the top of the Cavers’ order, hit two-out singles. Hudson struck out Sara Martin looking to end the threat.
The Panthers’ Brianna Turrey scored in the third inning, reaching on an error, then coming home on another error.
In the sixth, Nevaeh Atchley’s two-out double scored Turrey, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
June Woster was 2-for-4 for South Medford.
Hudson and Ledendecker; Martin and Woodburn. W — Hudson. L — Martin. 2B — SM: Atchley.
CRATER 17, EAGLE POINT 14: At Central Point, Crater erased a 12-5 deficit with 12 runs in the sixth inning and then held off Eagle Point to claim the consolation bracket win in the Southern Oregon Conference tournament.
The Comets (8-9) scored all 12 runs in the sixth with two outs, capitalzing on a single and then eight straight walks before Caitlyn Warner’s three-run single allowed Crater to regain the lead.
Sydney Boren turned in an impressive performance for Eagle Point (4-13), with the sophomore hitting a pair of home runs — one leaving a mark at the top of the center field scoreboard — to finish 4-for-4 with four runs and six RBIs. Boren had a two-run homer in the first, RBI single and solo homer in the third and a two-run single in the seventh.
McKenna Sease had a two-run home run in the first inning for Crater and finished 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs. Warner finished 2-for-3 with two runs and four RBIs, Abigail Foster was 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI and Alyssa Kilbane reached base five times and scored two runs with one RBI.
For the Eagles, Taylor Slayton was 3-for-4 with four runs while Hailey Waldon and Bailee Worrell each had two hits.
Boren, Nielsen (1), Boren (6), Nielsen (6) and Slayton; Sheadel, Foster (3), Perez (7) and Laws. W — Foster. L — Nielsen. 2B — EP: Slayton 2, Waldon, Worrell; Davis. HR — EP: Boren 2; C: Sease.
NORTH MEDFORD 6, SOUTH MEDFORD 5: South Medford loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning and brought one runner home but could go no further after Tyler Dunlevy recorded a game-clinching strikeout in the SOC tournament third-place contest at North Medford High.
Gavin Schmidt allowed six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings for the Black Tornado (14-3) before having to give way to Dunlevy once he reached his pitch limit.
South Medford’s Jace Miller singled, Carson Joe walked to load the bases and Kaleb Barney drew a walk to make it 6-5.
Down 3-1 in the count to Tosh Stumpenhaus, Dunlevy picked up two straight strikes, the final swinging to end the comeback bid.
North scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by a two-run single from Schmidt, but South Medford (12-5) answered with two runs in the top of the second following a leadoff double by Miller and RBIs from Barney and Nick Sanders.
Schmidt finished 4-for-4 with three RBIs and Cody Borraggine was 3-for-4 with two runs for North.
Barney had two hits and two RBIs for South, which saw Bennett Thompson start the seventh-inning rally with a one-out single.
Thomas, Robertson (3), Thompson (5) and Thompson, Sewell (5); Schmidt, Dunlevy (7) and Robbins. W — Schmidt (5-2). L — Thomas. S — Dunlevy. 2B — SM: Miller.
ASHLAND 3, CRATER 2: At Ashland, Michael Nixon allowed four hits over six innings with three strikeouts and Gabe Brabec closed out the game for Ashland with two strikeouts in a scoreless seventh inning to wrap up the SOC tournament consolation game.
Ashland (5-11) scored twice in the third inning to overtake the Comets (5-13) with an RBI groundout by Sean Thompson and wild pitch that plated Dillon Anway accounting for the runs.
The Grizzlies built a 3-1 cushion in the fourth after a leadoff triple by Miles Ransweiler and ensuing error on a grounder by Eyera Nogues.
Jared Webber scored Crater’s first-inning run after a two-out double by Hunter Chubb.
The Comets tallied their other run in the sixth when Payton Anhorn hit a leadoff single, advanced to third on a stolen base and throwing error and came home on a sacrifice fly by Webber.
Randolph and Lundeen; Nixon, Brabec (7) and Kemper. W — Nixon. L — Randolph. 2B — C: Chubb. 3B — A: Ransweiler.
ROSEBURG 7, GRANTS PASS 1: At Roseburg, Roseburg captured the SOC tournament championship, winning its sixth straight game to end the season.
The Indians (13-4) scored the eventual winning runs in the first inning, plating three.
Grants Pass (8-9) managed only three hits off Roseburg pitchers Dominic Tatone and Garrett Zeimet, and they were all by Ashton Durler, who was 3-for-3 and drove in the Cavemen’s run.
Tatone went six innings for the win, allowing three hits, striking out 10 and walking four.
Durler, Haven (4) and Osborne; Tatone, Zeimet (7) and Hubbard. W — Tatone. L — Durler. 2B — R: Gillespie 2.