Rogues rout Gems
New to town, Medford Rogues shortstop Jared Holley made himself right at home Monday night at Harry & David Field.
Among an influx of talent the Rogues brought in over the weekend, the 5-foot-8 infielder came up with some of the biggest hits of the night as Medford trounced Klamath Falls, 13-1, in the first game of a three-game West Coast League series.
Holley’s two-strike single in the second inning sparked a seven-run frame, and he smacked doubles in his next two at-bats to help power a 16-hit attack by the Rogues (3-1). The University of New Mexico junior finished 3-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs in his Medford debut.
“The swing felt good tonight,” said Holley, who also was steady on defense. “I was in good rhythm and it was just nice to be back in the batter’s box again.”
That feeling likely was felt throughout the lineup as every starter but one emerged with at least one hit against the Gems (0-4).
Left fielder Dan Mayer was 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI, third baseman J.J. Kitaoka was 2-for-5 with one run and two RBIs, second baseman John Kinne 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI and Nathan Etheridge ripped a three-run homer to highlight the night for Medford.
Right fielder Derron Davis saw his WCL-leading batting average “dip” to .615 by going 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI.
“That was great to see,” said Rogues manager Josh Hogan of the offensive explosion. “It’s starting to come together.”
Game 2 of the series against Klamath Falls will be at 6:35 tonight. Medford took a half-game lead on the Bend Elks, who were idle Monday, for first place in the WCL South Division.
Holley, who hit .254 with 19 runs and 16 RBIs this past season for the Lobos, said he was most impressed Monday with the welcoming nature of the Rogues players and fans. Longtime friend and college teammate Chris DeVito — whose 11-game hitting streak set a Rogues record last summer — told Holley to expect a good reception but he was still taken aback.
“This is probably the most welcoming group of guys I’ve been around,” said Holley. “This is my first day here but we already have really good team chemistry. Going through the dugout after an at-bat — good or bad — everyone’s up and picking each other up. Everyone’s just really positive here. It’s a good environment and the fans were great, too.”
A crowd of 913 braved triple-digit temperatures Monday and were treated to an impressive display, from the Rogues’ hitting to steady pitching that started with Billy Olson and was followed by four innings of scoreless and hitless relief.
Olson allowed six hits and one run in five innings, with four strikeouts and one walk.
“We’ve been looking for those quality starts,” said Hogan. “Taylor Johnson gave us one the other day but other than that we’ve been struggling a little bit with our starts. It’s just great when you can get a quality start like that, especially with our offense.”
Mayer got things off with a bang for Medford with a hot shot to right field for a leadoff double in the second inning against Klamath Falls starter Jake Repavich. After a walk to DeVito, making his 2015 debut, both runners were advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Kinne. Holley followed with a two-run single up the middle to kick off a series of clutch hits by the Rogues.
“Jared Holley had a huge at-bat to get us going there,” said Hogan. “He had two strikes and just tried to get it up the middle and get ‘em in and he got a hit out of it. That just kept us going.”
With two outs, Kitaoka, Brock Pradere and Davis supplied consecutive singles to boost Medford’s lead to 4-0 before Etheridge broke the game open with a three-run blast over the left-field fence.
In all, Medford came up with seven runs on seven hits in the bottom of the second.
“We had a bunch of two-strike hits in that inning,” added Hogan. “It was huge to have that clutch hitting.”
After Klamath Falls scratched for a run by getting three of its six hits against Olson in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Kody Reynolds, the Rogues fired back with three runs in the bottom half of the frame.
Mayer again sparked the surge with a leadoff home run over the left-field fence for his WCL-leading third round-tripper this summer.
Kinne kept it going with a one-out single up the middle and raced home shortly thereafter on an RBI double down the left-field line into the corner by Holley — his second of the contest. Kitaoka’s two-out, RBI single over the shortstop made it 10-1.
Three runs on an RBI double by Levi Pereira, RBI single by Kinne and sacrifice fly RBI by Holley closed out the scoring in the eighth inning.
“It was just nice to have these new guys come in right away and just perform like they did, especially with the drive they had last night (from Walla Walla, Wash.),” said Hogan. “We got back this morning at 7:30 a.m. and for them to be able to turn it on like that right away was great. I’m very happy with our guys and our toughness.”
Daniel Ferrell, Jared Holloman, Dustin Hughes and D.J. Wilson held the Gems hitless over the final four innings.
Klamath Falls Gems;000;010;000;—;1;6;1
Repavich, Moore (6) and McClure; Olson, Ferrell (6), Holloman (7), Hughes (8), Wilson (9) and McWhertor, LoCascio (8). W — Olson (1-0). L — Repavich (0-1). 2B — M: Mayer, Holley 2, Pereira. HR — M: Etheridge (1), Mayer (3).
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry