Jared Evans has only been up with the Medford Mustangs for a week but he's had quite an impact thus far at the American Legion AAA level.
Evans, who played primarily with the Legion A North Medford Mavericks until last Friday, continued his hot streak on Thursday night with a key three-run double that spearheaded the Mustangs' run to a 10-1 win over Salem Withnell in the opening game of the Southern Oregon Classic.
The North Medford High junior-to-be finished 2-for-4 with one run and four RBIs and boosted his batting average to .375 (6-for-16) in the No. 9 slot for the Mustangs.
"He's proved me wrong a little bit," said Mustangs manager Nate Mayben. "We didn't take him to start out. I know what he can do but he's a young kid. I knew he could play at this level defensively and he has an excellent arm, the question was what he would do at the plate and he's proven it. He's on fire right now, he's been huge."
Evans' bases-clearing double in the second inning set off a five-run surge that put Medford (11-6) in comfortable position against the visiting Dodgers (10-7) at Harry & David Field. The right fielder added an RBI single in a three-run fifth inning that pushed the Mustangs' lead to 10-1 and capped the scoring for the night.
"I have no idea what's going on," Evans said with a sly smile after the game. "There's nothing I've really been changing, it's just coming right now instead of during the spring. I guess it's just my time and I'm letting it happen."
If Evans has been Medford's surprise player for the week, starting pitcher Carter Glick might be voted the team's biggest eye-opener for the month after his third straight quality start. Glick went six strong innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts, three walks and one hit batter to run his record to 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA.
"I still can't believe they didn't pitch him in Ashland more," said Mayben. "I know he's a catcher but he's been phenomenal (on the mound). He's got three pitches that he throws and he can spot them all up and he's working hard at it. He's making adjustments and gotten better over the last three weeks just learning more how to pitch."
Glick's only trouble came in the second inning when he got two quick outs but walked two straight batters. One of two Medford errors set the stage for Joe Manetti to provide an RBI single for the Dodgers' lone run.
Run support, however, can be a pitcher's best friend and that's exactly what Glick received in a second inning that saw Medford send 10 batters to the plate and record six of its 12 hits.
"It's nice to know that I can just go out there and pitch and throw strikes and have my team back me up and score some runs like that," said Glick.
Medford's half of the second inning started with a single by Micah Brown, walk to Cody Hoff and bunt single by Eric Carlson to load the bases. With two strikes, Evans then ripped a Dakota Albrecht pitch that cut through the incoming wind and ricocheted high off the left field wall for his three-run double.
"I didn't think it had enough air to go out but I knew I just roped it," Evans said of his fourth extra-base hit, "so I just ran as fast as I could knowing that I was probably going to clear the bases."
After a strikeout, Isaiah Luzny followed with an RBI single to center field and David Crofton pulled off his second straight successful hit-and-run to put runners at the corners. Kyle McLaughlin then came on in relief of Albrecht, who threw 54 pitches in 11/3 innings, and induced a pop-up before Austin Zavala capped the inning with an RBI single.
Charlie Walker plated his second run of the game in the fourth inning on another sacrifice fly, and the Mustangs sealed the outcome in the fifth when Brown's leadoff double was followed by consecutive singles from Hoff, Carlson and Evans and a sacrifice fly by Taylor Raff.
Hoff pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Glick, getting a boost with a nice hustling play by third baseman Carlson to cover a vacated second base on a flare to center field by Anders Green that resulted in a putout at the bag on a throw by the shortstop Raff. Carlson also had a stellar diving stop that resulted in an assist in the fifth inning.
Brown tossed a scoreless ninth inning for the Mustangs and joined Crofton, Zavala, Carlson and Evans in getting two hits against Salem Withnell.
"A big focus today was energy and I think we all fed off of that," said Mayben. "We came out with a little more focus, intensity, energy and the things we can control."
"We played a little bit of small-ball today, too, and moved some guys around pretty well," he added. "I felt like the way we've been playing defensively, we needed to make sure we got more runs on the board. Glick was doing an awesome job on the mound but I didn't want to give away opportunities today. I just wanted to make sure that every opportunity we had to score we took advantage of it."
Tournament play continues today with games at noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., and runs through Sunday.
Salem Withnell 010 000 00x — 1 5 1
Medford Mustangs 150 130 00x — 10 12 2
Albrecht, McLaughlin (2) and Smith; Glick, Hoff (7), Brown (9) and Zavala. W — Glick (3-0). L — Albrecht. 2B — M: J. Evans, Brown.
In Thursday's other tournament openers:
RED BLUFF 10, LAS VEGAS 7 — Chuy Ramirez went 2-for-4 with four RBIs to lead Red Bluff to the seven-inning victory in the tourney opener.
Alex Tafresh paced Las Vegas by going 3-for-3 with two doubles and three runs scored.
Red Bluff Bulls 101 600 2 — 10 9 2
Las Vegas Aces 010 420 0 — 7 12 2
Fox, Lasby (6) and Ramirez; Van Buren, Rickard (4), Stott (7) and Lee. W — Fox. L — Van Buren. S — Lasby. 2B — RB: Boone; LV: Tafesh 2.
LAS VEGAS 6, FAIRFIELD 5 — Jordyn Campellos led the charge for Las Vegas, which improved to 1-1 in the Classic with the nine-inning victory.
Campellos went 3-for-4 with one run and three RBIs for the Aces.
Fairfield Expos 110 010 020 — 5 7 0
Las Vegas Aces 000 204 00x — 6 10 6
Brandt, Nixon (6) and Parodi; Landis, Burdett (8) and White. W — Landis. L — Brandt. S — Burdett. 2B — F: Booker, Lindsay; LV: Schmidt, Crosby, Lee, Van Buren, Campellos. 3B — LV: Campellos.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry