Heading into Saturday's twin bill with the Vancouver Flyers, the Southern Oregon RiverDogs knew it would take a determined effort to overcome the league-leaders.
The RiverDogs provided that and more in pulling off two come-from-behind victories at Harry & David Field.
Southern Oregon (15-11, 8-6 NWCL) scored in its last at-bat in both ends of the doubleheader to rally for 4-3 victories in Northwest Collegiate Baseball League action.
The teams will revive their battle at noon today at H&D in the final game of the series.
The RiverDogs trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 1, but season-long spark plug Tyson Nelson slapped a leadoff double to provide some hope. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Nelson scored on an RBI groundout by Sean Teaters to make it 3-2.
Josh Suarez and Andrew Hernandez followed with back-to-back singles to maintain momentum, and Aaron Decker supplied the big blow with a two-run double down the right-field line to put the RiverDogs on top for good.
Kevin Huntley, who came on in relief of Josh Strom in the sixth inning, quieted the visiting Flyers in the top of the seventh to secure the win.
The nightcap mirrored Southern Oregon's exploits in Game 1, with Vancouver opening a 3-2 lead through six innings before the RiverDogs rallied with two runs in the seventh.
Travis Wolf opened the final frame with a walk but was forced out at second base when Flyers pitcher Chris Jackson fielded a sacrifice attempt by Marcus James and relayed the ball to second.
Suarez, who had only one hit in eight at-bats heading into Saturday, followed with a blast to the gap in right-center field to plate James with the tying run after James slid past a tag at home plate. With Suarez on second, Jackson snared a comebacker by Jared Adamson for the second out of the inning and then intentionally walked Nelson to set up a force play.
Smith kept the inning alive with a basehit to load the bases, and the Flyers turned to Jason Kelly to get out of the jam but Kelly plunked Jeff Weiss on a 3-1 pitch to plate Suarez with the winning run.
Southern Oregon had previously scored a run in the third on a groundout by Nelson, who had his 14-game hitting streak come to an end in Game 2, and in the fifth on an RBI single by Adamson.
Adamson and Hernandez each went 2-for-3 in the opener, with Evan Seegmiller coming on in relief of Chad Hegdahl and Derek Jacobson to earn the win in Game 2.
Vancouver Flyers 001 011 0 — 3 9 4
S.O. RiverDogs 000 013 x — 4 7 2
Peterson and Terry; Strom, Huntley (6) and Hernandez. W — Huntley (1-2). L — Peterson. 2B — V: Jackson; SO: Nelson, Decker.
Vancouver Flyers 001 011 0 — 3 4 1 S.O. RiverDogs 001 010 2 — 4 6 3
Jackson, Kelly (7) and Scott; Hegdahl, Jacobson (4), Seegmiller (5) and Hernandez. W — Seegmiller (2-1). L — Jackson. 2B — SO: Suarez.
NORTH MEDFORD MAVERICKS 10-1, ASHLAND PILOTS 0-9 — At Ashland, North Medford clinched the American Legion A Area 4 South Division title with the victory in the opening game, but had its 14-game winning streak snapped with the Game 2 loss at North Mountain Park.
North Medford (37-7, 23-3 Area 4), the defending Legion A state champion, receives an automatic bid to the state tournament. The Mavericks will play Area 4 North Division winner in a seeding game for state.
In Game 1, Dylan Bedortha pitched a three-hit, six-inning shutout for the Mavericks. Hayden Wolfe and Kody Stevens had two hits and one RBI apiece for North, while Lewis Sebrell went 2-for-2 for Ashland.
Ashland pitcher Tyler Killeen limited North to four hits in Game 2 and Ian Reynolds provided the offensive support. Reynolds smacked a second-inning solo home run, then connected for a bases-loaded triple to spark a six-run fifth inning for the Pilots (22-9, 16-7 Area 4).
North Medford Mavericks 001 522 — 10 8 0
Ashland Pilots 000 000 — 0 3 0
D. Bedortha and Sowers; Gaviglio, Reynolds (4), Stone (6) and Sebrell. W — Bedortha (10-0). L — Gaviglio.
North Medford Mavericks 001 000 0 — 1 4 2
Ashland Pilots 111 060 x — 9 6 0
Young, Allbright and Sowers, Yeigh (6); Killeen and Miller. W — Killeen. L — Young (9-2). 2B — A: Tygerson. 3B — A: Reynolds, Tygerson. HR — A: Reynolds
SOUTH MEDFORD COLTS 8, ROSEBURG PEPSI 4 — At Roseburg, South Medford used three doubles to key a four-run rally in the ninth inning to break a 4-all tie in American Legion A nonleague action at Legion Field.
After Mitchell Britton opened the ninth with a single and was sacrificed to second, John Adamson delivered an RBI double, which proved to be the winning hit. Brett Reordan followed with a run-scoring double. Will Smith kept the rally going with a single, then Michael Williamson scored both runners with a double.
Reordan picked up the win with a five inning relief effort, allowing three hits and no earned runs.
Brandon Dollarhide and Adamson each had two hits for the Colts (22-12, 16-10 Area 4).
South Medford Colts 000 021 104 — 8 11 1
Roseburg Pepsi 300 000 100 — 4 8 3
Lundgren, Reordan (5) and Reordan, Williamson (5); Mathis, Muprhy (5) and Enserink. W — Reordan. L — Murphy. 2B — SM: Adamson, Reordan, Williamson; R: Thomson.
ROSEBURG HORIZON 5, NORTH JACKSON EAGLES 1 — At Eagle Point, North Jackson stranded 12 baserunners — 10 in scoring position — and Roseburg took advantage of 10 walks and three hit batters by Eagle pitchers in the nonleague contest at The Yard.
Horizon's Josh Davis delivered a key blow in the third inning with a three-run home run to left field that gave Roseburg a 4-0 lead.
Cody Walton went 2-for-5 to lead Horizon, who finished with only five hits against four different North Jackson pitchers.
Ryan Smith, Darin Adams and Brian Smith each had two hits for the Eagles (9-23).
Roseburg Horizon 103 010 000 — 5 5 0
North Jackson Eagles 000 000 001 — 1 9 2
Newell, Walton (6), Norton (9) and Pacheco; B. Smith, McLaughlin (5), Clifford (7), Zomerdyk (9) and Adams. W — Newell. L — B. Smith. 2B — R: Walton; NJ: B. Smith. HR — R: Davis.
Babe Ruth Baseball
AGE 13 SOUTHERN STATE TOURNAMENT — Medford Blue and Ashland registered victories Saturday and won their respective pools with 3-0 records at the Medford National Little League complex.
Kevin Hoyt pitched three no-hit innings of relief to preserve a 5-4 Medford Blue victory against Willamette Valley, while Alek Bishop went 3-for-4, drove in three runs and scored three times as Ashland completed pool play with a 17-5 victory over the Josephine County All-Stars.
Wyatt Williams allowed four hits in four-plus innings to pick up the win for Medford. Alex Dalton led the Blue offense with two hits.
Ashland fell behind 4-0 to Josephine County in the top of the first, but answered back with 12 runs in the bottom of the inning to take command.
For Ashland, Billy Hansen went 3-for-3 and scored four runs, Taylor Humphrey contributed two hits and three runs scored and Ethan Schlecht added two hits and scored three times.
On Friday, Medford Blue defeated Brookings-Harbor, 8-4. Ryan Johnson was the winning pitcher for Medford.
Pool winner Ashland faces Willamette Valley, runner-up in the opposite pool, in one semifinal at 9 a.m. today, while top-seeded Medford plays No. 2 South Coast in the other semifinal at noon. The semifinal winners play for the championship at 4 p.m. today.
Little League Softball
AGE 13-16 SENIOR DIVISION STATE TOURNAMENT — The defending state champion Medford American All-Stars moved within one victory of successfully defending its title with a 9-6 win over Grants Pass at the Medford American Little League complex.
The Americans led 8-0 in the fifth inning.
Mikayla Brown pitched four innings of two-hit shutout ball for Medford.
Seneca Bowne had three hits and one run to spark Medford, which collected 11 hits in the game. Brown added two hits and Kendra Straub had two hits and four stolen bases.
The Americans had four doubles, two triples and six stolen bases.
Medford will play today's winner of Grants Pass-Portland in a championship game Monday. A Medford loss Monday would force a title game Tuesday.
The winner of the state tournament advances to the Western Regional at Missoula, Mont., beginning Thursday.