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Sanderson helps ‘Stangs turn back Marketmen

Showering the ball all over the field, the Medford Mustang bats bombarded a busy Corvallis defense Thursday on Day 2 of the American Legion AAA state tournament in Keizer.

The Mustangs’ Nick Sanderson got into the act with four hits but pitched six strong innings to guide Medford to a 16-6 victory in eight innings over the Gerding Builders Marketmen at Volcanoes Stadium.

The win put the Mustangs (28-19) in position to lock up an automatic berth in the state championship game with a victory today over the double-elimination tournament’s only other undefeated squad, the host Salem Withnell Dodgers at 4 p.m. The Dodgers beat the DeMarini Dirtbags of Dallas, 7-1, on Thursday.

Sanderson held the hot-hitting Marketmen at bay, surrendering just two earned runs on four hits and three walks to go with eight strikeouts.

“Sanderson did a phenomenal job on the hill,” said Mustangs manager Nate Mayben. “They’re a really good hitting team so we were really impressed with his performance. His fastball, two-seam, curveball and changeup — all four of them were working really well and he was throwing all four for strikes.”

“I think it was his best performance,” added Mayben. “He’s pitched really well in his last three or four performances after he struggled in the middle of the season. He’s done a phenomenal job making adjustments and throwing strikes.”

Sanderson was 4-for-5 and bashed a two-run home run to cap a five-run fifth inning for the Mustangs, who collected 23 hits in the contest.

Jordan Ragan went 4-for-5 as well with two doubles and a triple, which plated two runs to put the Mustangs ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Berry Hunt’s single brought Ragan home to score the decisive run to give Medford the win by virtue of the 10-run mercy rule. Ragan struck again during the Mustangs’ four-run eighth inning with a two-run double.

Josh Berman went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI for the Mustangs and Greyson Wolff was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, including a two-run double in the fifth, and scored twice.

Medford’s Tate Cowden also went 3-for-5 and drove in a run in the third inning following consecutive RBI fielder’s choices by Will Weaver and Joe Johnson. Hunt finished 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored.

“We just did a really good job hitting the baseball and using the entire field,” said Mayben. “The field is very similar to how Harry & David sets up.”

Corvallis;020;000;13;—;6;9;2

Medford;203;052;04;—;16;23;2

Crosby, Tarra (5), Kulonis (7) and Spencer; Sanderson, Turnbull (7), Weaver (8) and Wolff. W — Sanderson (4-3). L — Crosby. 2B — M: Ragan 2, Wolff. 3B — M: Ragan. HR — M: Sanderson.

Reach reporter Warren Blenkush at 541-776-4492 or email wblenkush@mailtribune.com