Bellingham ousts Mustangs from regional

LEWISTON, Idaho — If you're going to get into a slugfest, Bellingham, Wash., is the last team you want to challenge. The Medford Mustangs found that out the hard way.

Despite an hour rain delay, Bellingham bashed 13 hits en route to a 9-6 triumph over the Mustangs in an elimination contest in the American Legion AAA Northwest Regional baseball tournament at Harris Field on Sunday.

"When you get down to this point in the season, pitching staffs are getting worn down," Bellingham coach Donny Hennigs said. "So it comes down to whoever can hit the ball the best."

Bellingham (52-6) advances to the championship round of the tournament, which starts today at 4 p.m. Bellingham will play either the Lewis-Clark (Idaho) Twins or the Bozeman (Mont.) Bucks.

Medford, which won its first two games of the tournament, ends the season with a 37-21 record. Coach Sandee Kensinger was unavailable for comment.

The Mustangs got off to a promising start, though, staking a 3-0 lead courtesy of Logan Odom. The towering lefty smacked a home run off the scoreboard in right field in the top of the first inning.

Bellingham responded with a run in the bottom of the frame on Rhett Fenton's RBI single. The club then took the lead with a three-run surge in the third.

Brady Locker, who had been a non-factor most of the tournament, led off the inning with a solo home run.

"He's been kind of quiet, but he usually rises to the occasion," Hennigs said of his center fielder, who finished 3-for-4. "Usually the bigger the game, the better he does."

Locker's homer was followed by Fenton's RBI double and Tyler Slesk's run-scoring sacrifice fly, which gave Bellingham a 4-3 advantage.

From there, Bellingham kept the Mustangs at bay by adding five more runs over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. James Culwell was responsible for three of those scores with a home run off the scoreboard.

Shayne Honcoop notched the win on the mound, allowing nine hits in eight innings. He struck out just one batter but didn't issue a walk.

The only Mustangs who managed multiple hits off the right-hander were Jordan Bostwick and Zach Earle, who each finished 2-for-4.

Moreover, with the exception of Odom's early home run, the Mustangs' most powerful hitters — Odom, Mark Austad and Griffin Boyd — again wielded silent bats. The trio collected just two hits in 11 at-bats. In the Mustangs' previous loss, they were a combined 1-for-14.

Medford right-handed pitcher Andrew Jones suffered the loss, yielding 10 hits and seven earned runs in just 42/3 innings. He struck out two and walked as many.

Medford 300 012 000 — 6 9 2

Bellingham 103 131 00x — 9 13 5

Jones, Smith (4), Odom (5) and Bruhns; Honcoop, Stiles (9) and Schenck. W — Honcoop. L — Jones (5-4). 2B — M: Smith, Earle; B: Fenton, Chambers, Locker. 3B — B: Hennigs. HR — M: Odom (12).

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