PREP BASEBALL: No. 3 South falls in second round
Trailing by three runs to Canby and down to its final out, the third-seeded South Medford baseball team showed no signs of giving in during Wednesday’s second round of the Class 6A state playoffs at Harry & David Field.
The Southwest Conference champion Panthers pulled within 4-2 to the 14th-seeded Cougars on a Cameron Sewell home run and ultimately wound up loading the bases before relief pitcher Alex Evans was able to record a strikeout on a full-count effort.
“Our guys grinded and played every pitch,” said South Medford coach Josh Moody. “I tell them all the time until that final out is recorded, we still have a chance. My team bought into that and played every pitch.”
Sewell’s home run over the right field fence was his first of the spring, and he finished 2-for-4.
“That pumped a little life into us,” said Moody.
Jace Miller, who went 2-for-3, then beat out an infield single to third base on a two-strike effort, and Tanner Douglas fought off two-strike offerings before he drew a walk. After a double steal with Elijah Havey at the plate put the tying run on second against the reliever Evans, Havey walked on four pitches to load the bases for No. 5 hitter Kaleb Long.
Evans kept the ball away from Long and eventually on a 3-2 pitch, got the sophomore to swing and miss on yet another pitch on the outside edge of the plate to end the game.
“You go from not having much hope to all of a sudden the winning run is on first and tying run is on second,” said Moody. “With one of your best hitters up, you’ve got a shot, unfortunately we didn’t get that hit that we were looking for.”
That theme played out most of the day for the Panthers (23-4), who recorded seven hits against Canby starter Kellan Oakes but were unable to bunch them together to produce enough runs. Oakes struck out nine and walked three in 6 2/3 innings.
“We ran into a good pitcher,” said Moody. “He had a good, hard fastball and a real tight slider and he knew how to pitch. He had good command of the ball and when we got runners in scoring position, he made the pitches he needed to make to keep us at bay.”
Canby (17-12) took a 2-0 lead in the third on two-out RBI singles by Clayton Langdale and Oakes, who joined Logan Robinson in going 2-for-4.
South scored in the fourth to make it 2-1 after a single by Long, who later advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch.
Along with a conference title, the Panthers notched the school’s third 20-win campaign this spring.
“I’m very proud of our guys, not just how they did this season on the baseball field but who they are as young men,” said Moody. “It was a great bunch of kids and a fun ride.”
Oakes, Al. Evans (7) and Oliver; Douglas, Sewell (6) and Havey. W — Oakes. L — Douglas (8-2). 2B — C: Oakes. 3B — C: Oliver. HR — SM: Sewell (1).
CRESCENT VALLEY 7, ASHLAND 6, 8 inn.: At Ashland, Ashland was able to roar back from an early six-run deficit but the Grizzlies couldn’t complete the comeback and Crescent Valley was able to score the extra-inning win in the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs at North Mountain Park.
Landen Parker scored what proved to be the winning run for the 11th-seeded Raiders (17-10), scoring on Ashland’s lone error of the game following a one-out single by Walker Still against Evan Rhoden, who pitched 6 1/3 innings in relief of Grizzlies starter Gabe Brabec.
Ashland (17-8) scored single runs in the third and fourth before a three-run fifth — keyed by doubles from Jackson Kemper and Keller Bloodworth — cut the deficit to 6-5. The Grizzlies tied the game in the sixth on an RBI double from Jackson Rosenthal.
Bloodworth finished 3-for-4, while Kemper was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Parker, Bozdeck (5), Dewey (5) and Still; Brabec, Rhoden (2) and Wright. W — Dewey. L — Wright. 2B — CV: Dewey; A: Bloodworth, Rosenthal, Kemper, Wright.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 13, JOSEPH/ENTERPRISE 3, 5 inn.: Cascade Christian junior Owen Thompson went 4-for-4 with five RBIs and limited Joseph/Enterprise to five hits in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs at Lithia & Driveway Fields.
Thompson struck out 12 and walked two in the five-inning contest shortened by the 10-run mercy rule, with all three runs against him unearned.
Cascade Christian will next host No. 9 Blanchet Catholic, a 7-6 winner over Burns, in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Cody Reece went 3-for-3 with four runs scored, including the game-opening run after getting hit by a pitch and later scoring on a double by Thompson.
Triston Wallace supplied a two-run double in the fourth and that was followed by a two-run home run by Thompson and solo homer from Austin Waits to help the Challengers (23-4) build a 9-0 advantage.
Lane Rouse had two hits for No. 16 Joseph/Enterprise (14-12).
Beachy, Grover (3), Rouse (4), Decker (5), Suto (5) and Melville; Thompson and Wallace. W — Thompson. L — Beachy. 2B — CC: Benade, Thompson, Wallace. HR — CC: Thompson, Waits.
ST. MARY’S 3, WARRENTON 2: At Warrenton, Grant Russo scored what proved to be the game-winning run on a Warrenton throwing error in the sixth and No. 10-seeded St. Mary’s pulled off the opening-round upset of No. 7 Warrenton in the 3A state playoffs.
The Crusaders (14-11) also scored their first two runs via errors by Warrenton (18-7), which had seven errors overall. Ean Lawrence gave St. Mary’s a 1-0 lead when he scored on an overthrow at first base after a dropped third strike. In the fifth inning, Sam Hamilton scored after Warrenton was unable to handle a hard grounder off the bat of Travis Johnson.
Johnson picked up the win for St. Mary’s after allowing five hits and one run while striking out four and walking one in five innings. Beau Aldrich — who had one of the Crusaders’ three hits with a double — tossed the final two innings to pick up the save, striking out five batters in the process.
St. Mary’s will face Far West League rival and No. 2 seed South Umpqua, a 5-2 winner over Scio, in the quarterfinals Friday.
Johnson, Aldrich (6) and Lawrence; Little and E. Caldwell. W — Johnson. L — Little. S — Aldrich. 2B — SM: Aldrich; W: Little, Atwood, E. Caldwell.