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BASEBALL/SOFTBALL: North stuns Sheldon in 7th

To say matters seemed bleak for North Medford’s baseball team when Kellen Willer’s low flyball made its way toward right field against Sheldon in the seventh inning Tuesday would be an understatement.

The Black Tornado trailed by three runs, already had two outs in its final at-bat and seemed destined to succumb to another tough Southwest Conference loss.

When the ball fell out of the right fielder’s glove on a crisp, windy day at Lithia & Driveway Fields, however, North Medford was given another chance and made the most of it to score a stunning 7-6 comeback win over the Irish.

“It was one of those situations where we got a flyball for the third out and they misplay it and then we get a little bit of momentum,” said Black Tornado coach Kerry Curtis. “We had a little bit of life in the dugout, which we hadn’t seen for six innings and two outs, and we got what we’ve been waiting for with some timely hits.”

Jeremiah Robbins followed with a single up the middle and then Johnny King lined a ball over the third baseman and into left field to plate Willer. Aiden Horsley added an RBI double down the right field line and when Frankie Rutigliano’s grounder to second base was misplayed for the second error of the inning, suddenly North Medford (6-7, 1-2 SWC) found itself tied with Sheldon (5-7, 1-2).

After the Irish intentionally walked Colton Morgan to load the bases, Trey Newmann capped the comeback with a hard grounder up the middle for a walk-off single on a 1-2 pitch.

“Trey did a good job there,” said Curtis. “We’re working to be better hitters with two strikes and here he is putting ball in play with two outs to give ourselves a chance. It was exciting for the kids, obviously, and it was a good team win and good production from a lot of players.”

King, Horsley and Newmann each went 2-for-4 to lead North, with King coming on in relief to allow only four hits with two strikeouts in the final four innings. Rutigliano and King each also had RBI doubles.

Koen Buck led Sheldon with a double and a triple in going 2-for-4.

Sheldon1211100—6103

North Medford0002104—780

Mueller 623, Welch (7) and Spurlock; Rutigliano, King (4) and Robbins. W — King (1-1). L — Mueller. 2B — S: Buck, Thomas; NM: King, Horsley, Rutigliano. 3B — S: Buck, Mueller.

ASHLAND 3, ST. MARY’S 2: At Ashland, Elam Wright scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth as Class 5A No. 2-ranked Ashland beat Class 3A St. Mary’s in a nonleague matchup at North Mountain Park to extend the Grizzllies’ winning streak to seven games.

Each team finished with two hits.

St. Mary’s (7-2) took a 1-0 lead on an Ashland (11-1) throwing error in the third inning before the Grizzlies took a 2-1 lead on a Crusader error and a Mateo Moore RBI single in the fourth.

Ean Lawrence scored both runs — the second on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2-all in the top of the fifth — for St. Mary’s, which saw its four-game winning streak come to a halt.

Ashland’s Keller Bloodworth picked up the win in relief of starter Jackson Rosenthal. Bloodworth, who allowed one hit, struck out four in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

Travis Johnson struck out five and allowed two hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings before giving way to St. Mary’s reliever Beau Aldrich, who struck out two and didn’t allow a hit or a walk in 2 1/3 innings.

St. Mary’s0010100—225

Ashland000210x—323

Johnson, Aldrich (4) and Lawrence; Rosenthal, Bloodworth (5) and Wright. W — Bloodworth. L — Aldrich. 3B — SM: Lawrence.

GARCES (CALIF.) 11, CRATER 9: At Fresno, Calif., Crater senior Brandon Tibbils went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a three-run triple in the second inning, but a nine-run frame by Garces High of California proved too much to overcome in the 52nd annual Easter Baseball Classic.

Hayden Kindreich went 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI for the Comets (6-7), while Josiah Hearne and Ryan Hill each were 2-for-4 with two runs as Crater moved to 1-1 in the tourney.

Kellen Rapp and Grant Headley also had RBIs for Crater, which was set to play another late game Tuesday against host Fresno.

Garces (Calif.)0901010—11134

Crater0440010—9123

Horton, Shaw (3) and Smith; H. Kindreach, Headley (7) and D. Kindreich. W — Shaw. L — H. Kindreich (2-3). 2B — G: O’Reilly, Porter. 3B — C: Tibbils.

Softball

SOUTH MEDFORD 20, SOUTH EUGENE 2, 5 inn.: At Eugene, Kirsten Morgan, Jordan Knutson and Maddie Fullenwider each had two hits and Kaycee Hudson struck out 10 as South Medford rolled to a mercy rule Southwest Conference win.

Knutson finished 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, three RBIs and a run scored, while Morgan was 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs and three runs. Fullenwider was 2-for-2 with an RBI and four runs.

Hudson, who had an RBI at the plate, allowed just three hits and walked one to go with the 10 strikeouts.

Maleyah Thoele scored three runs while June Woster, Nicole Ledendecker and Brianna Turrey all scored twice.

South Medford64145—20100

South Eugene00002—236

Hudson and Hillyer; Langan-Forbes and Ransford. W — Hudson. L — Langan-Forbes. 2B — SM: Fullenwider, Knutson 2; SE: Langan-Forbes, Tuguldur. 3B — SM: Morgan.

SHELDON 9, NORTH MEDFORD 6: North Medford was able to take an early lead, but No. 8-ranked Sheldon scored eight runs in the top of the second and held off the Black Tornado for the win at L&D Fields.

North (8-5, 2-1 SWC) recorded just six hits against Sheldon starting pitcher Payton Burnham. Samara Miles and Gabbi Urban both had two RBIs to lead the Black Tornado offense.

Only three of the nine runs charged to Urban were earned, with the sophomore right-hander striking out six and walking three.

Burnham struck out nine and was a perfect 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Irish (10-4, 2-1).

Sheldon0800001—9133

North Medford2400000—662

Burnham and Pappas; Urban and Lawton. W — Burnham. L — Urban. 2B — S: Burnham; NM: Lawton. HR — S: Burnham.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune North Medford’s Johnny King, shown earlier this season, picked up the pitching victory and helped spark the Black Tornado’s seventh-inning rally Tuesday against Sheldon.