PREP ROUNDUP: Panthers rally late to edge Tornado
With a pair of runners in scoring position and the threat of North Medford taking control of Tuesday’s crosstown showdown, South Medford coach Shane Ramsay turned the ball over to one of the youngest players on his roster to get the Panthers out of a major jam.
Jordan Knutson, calm as can be, delivered.
South Medford’s freshman right-hander not only got out of a jam but ended up firing 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief, allowing the Panthers to shut the door on North Medford’s threat and then take the lead right back en route to a 3-2 win over the Black Tornado in Southwest Conference softball action at Lithia & Driveway Fields.
“She was ready for it,” said Ramsay of Knutson. “She’s a mature pitcher for her age. She works hard at it and she came in today and did a great job.”
Knutson replaced South starter Kaycee Hudson after North (8-8, 2-4 SWC) took a 2-1 lead on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Emily Dunn. The Black Tornado had previously loaded the bases against Hudson thanks to Rhyan Hamlin — who scored on Dunn’s fielder’s choice — reaching on an error, an ensuing single from Samara Miles and a walk to Presley Lawton.
Knutson, however, was able to get the first two batters she faced out with a strikeout and a pop-up to the shortstop to get out of the jam and leave a pair of North runners stranded in scoring position to limit the damage.
South (13-5, 5-1) then took its first lead of the day in the bottom half of the fifth inning.
Maleyah Thoele, South’s No. 9 hitter, opened the inning with a double, then moved to third when Hudson reached on a North error. June Woster drove both of them in with a two-run single to center field to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead.
“That was huge,” said Ramsay of Woster’s big hit. “We had a couple of runners on with no outs and June came up big. She made a couple of big plays for us and she’s been playing really well.”
Knutson did the rest from there, retiring North in order in the top of the sixth and seventh to clinch the win.
“She did a great job,” said Ramsay. “That’s what’s nice about having two pitchers — if one doesn’t have her ‘A’ game, then the other can come in and help the team.”
Five of the last six outs Knutson recorded were on groundouts. She finished with a pair of strikeouts.
“It’s one of those things where we need to make an adjustment,” said North coach Chris Campbell. “(Knutson) coming in and throwing shouldn’t have affected us that much. We didn’t make the adjustment to the slower pitcher and we were just rolling over on the ball. It’s just a timing issue and, if you don’t make the adjustment, it’s easy to roll over the ball and hit ground balls.”
Woster was the lone player on either team to finish with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
Lawton and Miles finished with the only two hits for North, both coming against Hudson, who also struck out three and walked six in 4 1/3 innings.
The Black Tornado took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Hudson hit Alyssa Hartzheim with a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in Miles.
North’s lead didn’t last long, as the Panthers tied the game at 1-all in the bottom half of the inning on Maddy Fullenwider’s two-out RBI single to left.
North starting pitcher Gabbi Urban was the tough-luck loser Tuesday, as she scattered eight hits and allowed three runs — one unearned — with one strikeout and one walk.
“Gabbi’s throwing good enough to keep us in games and let us have an opportunity to get a victory,” said Campbell. “We’re just not taking advantage at the plate and putting the ball in play.”
Tuesday proved to be another tough loss for North by one run, with its last three losses — including two against Grants Pass this past Saturday — coming by a single run.
In total, the Black Tornado is 2-5 in one-run games this season.
“That’s what we’ve been searching for is that answer,” said Campbell. “What’s that key element that’s going to push us over the hump. We know we have the capability to be on the other side of these things and are trying to get better. ... These one-runners are killing us.”
Urban and Lawton; Hudson, Knutson (5) and Hillyer. W — Knutson. L — Urban. 2B — SM: Morgan, Thoele.
SOUTH UMPQUA 20, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1, 5 inn.: Cascade Christian got an RBI single from Bella Williams in the second inning but could not keep up with top-ranked South Umpqua in the Far West League opener at L&D Fields.
Katelynn Reed led off the second with a single, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Ashlyn Ehrlich and then scored on Williams’ hit. The Challengers (0-13, 0-1 FWL) managed only one other hit by Josie Scaglione against Lancers pitcher Violet Richardson.
South Umpqua (11-0, 1-0) got triples from Richardson, Ashlyn Vey, Kaydence Norton and Mady Pratt.
Richardson and Love; Bonner, Sweem (2) and Williams. W — Richardson. L — Bonner. 3B — SU: Vey, Richardson, Norton, Pratt.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1, SOUTH UMPQUA 0: Cascade Christian starting pitcher Owen Thompson tossed a one-hit shutout and drove in the only run of the day as the Challengers edged No. 1 South Umpqua in a meeting of Class 3A’s top-two ranked teams at Lithia & Driveway Fields.
The Far West League opener for both schools was set to be played in Myrtle Creek before poor weather moved it to Medford.
The only hit Thompson — who worked his way around six walks — allowed was a leadoff single to open the bottom of the fourth. He finished with nine strikeouts.
Thompson gave the No. 2-ranked Challengers (11-1, 1-0 FWL) a 1-0 lead in the top of the third with an RBI single to drive in leadoff man Cody Reece, who started the rally with a two-out single to left.
The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for South Umpqua (10-2, 0-1).
Thompson and Wallace; Camp, Lamm (3) and Hostna. W — Thompson. L — Lamm.
ST. MARY’S 10, DOUGLAS 2: St. Mary’s senior catcher Ean Lawrence hit a three-run home run to key the seventh-ranked Crusaders’ seven-run outburst in the sixth inning in a Far West League-opening win over No. 10 Douglas at St. Mary’s High.
Lawrence and Eli Haynes both had two hits in the win, while CJ Seggelink had a two-run double during the sixth inning for St. Mary’s (8-2, 1-0 FWL), which led 3-2 through the first 5 1/2 innings.
St. Mary’s starter Beau Aldrich threw the first 3 2/3 innings to improve his record to 4-1. Travis Johnson closed out the win, throwing 3 1/3 shutout innings.
Aldrich and Johnson combined for 10 strikeouts and one walk against Douglas (6-6, 0-1).
Ledbetter and Jericho; Aldrich, Johnson (4) and Lawrence. W — Aldrich (4-1). L — Ledbetter. S — Johnson. 2B — D: Jericho; SM: Lawrence, Seggelink. HR — SM: Lawrence.
STONE RIDGE TOURNAMENT: At Eagle Point, a three-way tie atop the individual leaderboard highlighted play in the 11-school event at Stone Ridge Golf Club, with Ben Idiart of Crater, Toby Barnes of Ashland and Cruz Kilborn of North Valley each recording a 75.
With Marcus Idiart (78), Tucker Laws (79) and Markus Knouff (80) not far off the leading pace, the Comets were able to edge St. Mary’s by four strokes for the team title.
Josh Moran led St. Mary’s with a 76 — good for fourth overall — and Brock Drury (78), Davis Jones (79) and Owen Bernard (83) also fared well for the Crusaders.
Gavin Snow carded an 83 to pace Rogue River.
TEAM SCORES: Crater 312, St. Mary’s 316, North Valley 358, North Eugene 369, Henley 380, Mazama 385, Eagle Point 433, Klamath Union 449, Rogue River 481. Incomplete: Ashland, Cascade Christian.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 5): T1, Toby Barnes, Ash, and Ben Idiart, Cra, and Cruz Kilborn, NV, 75; 4, Josh Moran, StM, 76; 5, P. Brandt, NE, 38-39—77.
CRATER (312): Ben Idiart 40-35—75, Marcus Idiart 39-39—78, Tucker Laws 41-38—79, Markus Knouff 39-41—80.
ST. MARY’S (316): Josh Moran 39-37—76, Brock Drury 38-40—78, Davis Jones 40-39—79, Owen Bernard 42-41—83.
EAGLE POINT (433): Treyson Strange-Nebo 50-45—95, Adrian Hunter-Williams 46-50—96, Cooper Kelsay 52-55—107, Blaine Lloyd 70-65—135.
ROGUE RIVER (481): Gavin Snow 40-43—83, Johnny Artoff 62-57—119, Tony Isom 69-68—137, Richard Barker 72-70—142.
ASHLAND (INC): Toby Barnes 40-35—75, Logan Mitchell 55-66—121, Andrew Eskenazi 70-73—143.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN (INC): Gavin Ulrich 59-56—115, Gavin Casebeer 66-62—128.
STONE RIDGE TOURNAMENT: At Eagle Point, St. Mary’s senior Riley Hammericksen carded an 80 to earn medalist honors and help the Crusaders to a convincing win in the team competition of a six-school tournament at Stone Ridge Golf Club.
Hammericksen finished four shots ahead of runner-up Jessica Mockridge of North Valley, while teammate Brigitte O’Connell placed third with an 85 as the Crusaders posted a winning team score of 364.
Mia Brewer finished fifth with a 97 to lead Crater.
TEAM SCORES: St. Mary’s 364, North Valley 427, Crater 436, Klamath Union 533. Incomplete: Rogue River, Mazama.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 5): 1, Riley Hammericksen, StM, 80; 2, Jessica Mockridge, NV, 84; 3, Brigitte O’Connell, StM, 85; 4, Abby Beck, Maz, 92; 5, Mia Brewer, Cra, 97.
ST. MARY’S (354): Riley Hammericksen 42-38—80, Brigitte O’Connell 44-41—85, Chelsea Horn 49-49—98, Kaitlyn Hansen 50-51—101.
CRATER (436): Mia Brewer 46-51—97, Makayla Chacon 53-55—108, Olivia Bennett 55-56—111, Hannah Hilty 63-57—120.
ROGUE RIVER (INC): Isabelle Yauch 67-65—132.