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PREP SOFTBALL: Hudson, Knutson power Panthers

South Medford pitchers anchor sweeping effort on Day 1 of North Medford Spring Break Invitational

South Medford softball coach Shane Ramsay isn’t in any hurry to make statements about his team’s potential this spring, but the Panthers definitely seem to be on the right track toward a promising campaign.

With pitchers Kacee Hudson and Jordan Knutson anchoring efforts, South Medford improved to 3-0 with a pair of solid wins Monday to open the North Medford Spring Break Invitational.

Hudson struck out 15 and didn’t allow a hit in a 10-0, six-inning win over Henley to open Day 1 of the tournament at Lithia & Driveway Fields, then Knutson took over to fan 13 with only four hits allowed in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Lebanon.

“We had a good offseason and we’re just playing good right now,” said Ramsay, whose team was 4-12 a year ago. “We’ve still got to prove ourselves and we’ve got a long way to go, but we’re playing well. The pitchers are doing great. We’ve had a lot of strikeouts and allowed only one run in three games, so that’s good.”

Ramsay was particularly pleased with the effort against Lebanon.

“(Lebanon) has got some stud kids on that team, big time,” said Ramsay.

Playing as the visiting team, South Medford struck first in the opening inning when Hudson singled, was sacrificed to second base by June Woster and scored on a double by Ashland transfer Kirsten Morgan.

Panthers senior Maddy Fullenwider doubled the advantage in the fourth inning with a home run to center field.

Knutson did not allow a hit through 3 2/3 innings before a single by Alivia Holden and double by Laurel McGuigan put pressure on that lead, but she came back with a strikeout to end the threat.

In the sixth inning, however, Lebanon finally got something going again when a leadoff single by Christine Berg and stolen base put her in position to score on a single by Trinity Holden.

The Panthers were able to negate a potential tying run when catcher Shelby Hillyer threw out Trinity Holden on a stolen base attempt at second base, and then Knutson induced an inning-ending flyout to left field.

“That was a huge play by Shelby because that was the tying run there in the sixth,” said Ramsay.

Knutson went on to strike out the Nos. 5-7 hitters in the seventh to seal the victory.

In the opening game, Hudson proved unhittable against the Hornets and got plenty of support from her teammates as the Panthers totaled 10 hits.

Hudson struck out the first 10 batters faced before offering up one of only two walks in the game. Henley was able to advance only one runner as far as second base.

“Kacee has worked really hard,” said Ramsay. “Both of our pitchers did a fabulous job in both games, and team-wise the kids really competed well.”

Nicole Ledendecker went 3-for-4 with one run and four RBIs against Henley, with two-run hits in the fifth and sixth innings. Morgan finished 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI, while Woster was 2-for-3 with two runs and Fullenwider 1-for-3 with two runs and one RBI.

The annual tournament, which features most of the local teams plus a host of others from outside the Rogue Valley, wraps up today at L&D Fields.

South Medford will face South Salem at 2 p.m. and Dallas/Falls City at 6 p.m. today.

Henley000000—003

South Medford003052—10101

Campos, Northcutt (5) and Sreniawski; Hudson and Ledendecker. W — Hudson. L — Campos. 2B — SM: Ledendecker.

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South Medford1001000—260

Lebanon0000010—140

Knutson and Hillyer; A. Holden and T. Holden. W — Knutson. L — A. Holden. 2B — SM: Thoele, Morgan; L: McGuigan. HR — SM: Fullenwider.

NORTH MEDFORD SWEEPS: Gabbi Urban and Alyssa Hartzheim each allowed three hits to guide North Medford to a pair of wins, 4-2 over South Salem and 12-0 in five innings over Aloha.

Urban struck out 12 and walked three, allowing a two-run home run by South Salem’s Rowan Thompson in the first inning before keeping the Saxons at bay for the rest of the contest.

Hartzheim finished with two strikeouts and no walks to stymie Aloha.

After falling behind 2-0, North Medford (4-2) took the advantage for good against South Salem with three runs in the fifth inning, spurred by an RBI double from Emily Dunn and two-run double by Presley Lawton. Dunn, Lawton and Rhyan Hamlin each had two hits for the Tornado.

North Medford used a five-run second inning to build a 6-0 lead on Aloha, with Samara Miles, Lawton, Hartzheim and Alexis Wadley each supplying RBI efforts. Dunn was 3-for-3 with three runs and one RBI, Miles 2-for-3 with three runs and one RBI and Urban 2-for-2 wth one run and two RBIs against the Warriors.

South Salem2000000—231

North Medford000031x—473

Thompson and Scott; Urban and Lawton. W — Urban. L — Thompson. 2B — NM: Dunn, Lawton. HR — SS: Thompson.

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North Medford15231—12111

Aloha00000—032

Hartzheim and Lawton; Moseley, Wagner (2) and Zeigler. W — Hartzheim. L — Moseley. 2B — NM: Urban, Dunn.

EAGLE POINT SWEEPS: Eagle Point junior Sydney Boren had a sensational outing, going a combined 8-for-8 with 14 RBIs to help the Eagles topple Central, 14-7, and North Bend, 25-2 in four innings.

Boren went 3-for-3 with six RBIs in the opener against Central, then tacked on a pair of two-run home runs against North Bend to finish 5-for-5 with eight RBIs. For the season, Boren is 16-for-19 with three home runs and 17 RBIs.

Jocelyn Hanan and Madysin Gray each had two hits and two RBIs against Central, with Sydney Bruner also posting two hits and Kyra Smith striking out seven with one walk for the Eagles (4-1).

Jovianna Marshall belted a grand slam in the fourth inning to help close out North Bend, while Bruner was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and EP’s Emilee Nielsen and Hailey Waldon each finished 3-for-4.

Central3011200—783

Eagle Point231422x—1492

McCormick, Shelton (6) and Foreman; Smith and Hanan. W — Smith (3-1). L — McCormick. 2B — EP: Boren, Waldon, Gray. 3B — EP: Boren.

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North Bend0110—234

Eagle Point4669—25212

Reynon, Shore (2), Delon (4) and Breakfield; Nielsen, Boren (1) and Mullen. W — Boren (1-0). L — Reynon. 2B — EP: Hanan, Boren. HR — EP: Boren 2 (3), Marshall (1).

ASHLAND SPLITS: Lindsey Jenkins drove home Tessa Hobein for the go-ahead run to give Ashland the edge in its first game of the day, a 7-6 victory over North Salem.

The Grizzlies (2-2) were upended in their second game by Philomath, 9-7.

Ashland came up big in the bottom of the third against North Salem with five runs on a bunt single, an error and three doubles. Gabby Heiken had an RBI double and the inning was finished off by Hobein’s two-run double that bolstered Ashland’s lead to 6-1

North Salem, however, matched with five runs in the top of the fourth to knot the score at 6-all before the bottom of the frame, where Hobein’s leadoff triple set up Jenkins’ heroics.

Hobein and Ivy Clason each finished 2-for-3 for Ashland, and Clason scored twice.

Starting pitcher Glory Pistole went seven innings to allow just one earned run on eight hits, four walks and seven strikeouts.

Against Philomath, the Grizzlies mounted a comeback with six runs in the top of the sixth, capped by Heiken’s two-run double.

Shelby Brown also had an RBI single during the frame as the Grizzlies took advantage of three walks and two hit batters.

North Salem1005000—682

Ashland105010x—783

Young and Garcia; Pistole and Theobald. W — Pistole (1-1). L — Young. 2B — NS: Suarez; A: Heiken, Pistole, Hobein. 3B — A: Hobein.

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Ashland001006—754

Philomath00036x—971

Pistole, Heiken (5) and Theobald. W — Pistole (2-1). 2B — A: Heiken.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN DROPS TWO: Cascade Christian sophomore McKenzie Bonner had three of her team’s seven hits in a pair of losses, 18-1 in five innings to Santiam Christian and 22-0 in three innings against Taft.

Bonner had two hits and Bella Williams added the other against Santiam Christian, with Ashlyn Ehrlich scoring the lone run for the Challengers (0-4).

Against Taft, Maile Scaglione, Katelynn Reed and Williams joined Bonner in posting hits.

Santiam Christian64224—18122

Cascade Christian00001—132

Skovil and Jackson; Sweem and Williams. W — Skovil. L — Sweem. 2B — SC: Knox.

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Cascade Christian000—045

Taft(12)(10)x—22112

Bonner, Sweem (3) and Williams; Weaver and Gates. W — Weaver. L — Bonner. 2B — T: Peterson, Coulter, Gates. 3B — T: Weaver, Peterson.

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