LINCOLN, Calif. — Medford closed the gap on second place in the Great West League with an 8-5 win over Lincoln on Monday, using a key three-run home run by Tommy Ahlstrom to turn the tide in the third inning for the visiting Rogues.
Medford (14-11) began to take control in the third inning, scoring four runs with the need of only two hits to take the lead for good over Lincoln (15-9), which offered up 14 free passes overall.
Leadoff walks to Blake Baumgartner and A.J. Miller and a wild pitch opened the door for an RBI groundout by Tanner Cantwell. After Josh McIntyre was hit by a pitch, Ahlstrom brought everyone home with his first round-trippper of the summer.
The Rogues tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning to bild a 6-2 cushion, with Cole Carder hitting a single and scoring on an error by the catcher and A.J. Miller later scoring on another error.
RBI singles in the sixth inning by Riley Kasper and Riley Way gave Medford an 8-3 advantage.
A two-run single by Brian Morley allowed Lincoln to close the gap to 8-5 in the eighth inning, but relief pitcher Gabe Smith recovered to get a pair of strikeouts to limit the damage. Smith then pitched a scoreless ninth inning to secure his first save.
Tony Barrios earned his first win in relief for Medford, allowing one hit and one unearned run with two walks and two strikeouts.
Game 2 of the three-game series will be at 6:35 tonight.
Prior to the contest, the Potters helped the Rogues when they got in a bind by donating their team van to pick up the Medford players and coaching staff from a church parking lot in Rocklin after the Rogues’ team bus broke down 8 miles from their hotel.
Medford 004 202 000 — 8 7 2
Lincoln 101 100 020 — 5 9 2
Brinkman, Barrios (4), Glover (6), Smith (8) and Elvis, Bath (7); Parker, Lopez (4), St. Martin (6), Savea (7), Ludeman (9) and Rubalcaba. W — Barrios (1-0). L — Parker (0-1). S — Smith (1). 2B — L: Starick. HR — M: Ahlstrom (1).
CENTRAL POINT 14-18, ASHLAND 11-2: At Ashland, Blake Hollingsworth struck out nine and allowed four hits, four walks and two earned runs in the five-inning nightcap to lead Central Point to the Area 4 sweep at North Mountain Park.
Central Point combined for 26 hits in the doubleheader, with Hollingsworth combining to go 6-for-8 with four runs and six RBIs in the sweep.
Blake Hollingsworth was 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs, Andy Lacey 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, Jacob Memmot 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI and Garrett Dance drove in three runs to pace Central Point in the opener.
Dance also had a two-run homer in Game 2 and finished with three RBIs, while Ethan Scott and Ike Gilliland each went 2-for-3 and scored twice.
Evan McLennan was 3-for-4 with three runs and four RBIs in the opener for Ashland, belting a three-run home run in the second inning. The Pilots also got two hits and two RBIs from Rowan Amann and Dane Reynolds in Game 1.
Eli Westrick went 2-for-3 with one run in the nightcap for Ashland.
Central Point 004 404 2 — 14 16 2
Ashland 240 104 0 — 11 13 2
Scott, Hibbard (6), Dance (6), Lacey (7) and I. Gilliland; Anway, Westrick (3), McLennan (6), Amann (6) and Evans. W — Scott. L — Anway. 2B — CP: Lacey, Glatt, Dance, Scott. 3B — CP: Johnson. HR — A: McLennan.
Central Point 364 32 — 18 10 1
Ashland 101 00 — 2 4 2
Hollingsworth, Chubb (5) and I. Gilliland; Brown, Evans (2), Nixon (3), Lemhouse (5) and C. Gilliland. W — Hollingsworth. L — Brown. 2B — CP: I. Gilliland, Scott. 3B — CP: Hollingsworth, Scott; A: Brown. HR — CP: Dance.