Four local teams in state Legion A tournament

The North Medford Mavericks are the best team from the state's best league, but coach Brett Wolfe isn't casting his team in the favorite's role when the American Legion A state tournament begins today in Central Point.

"I don't know if there is a favorite," says Wolfe, whose team is 45-13 and captured the Area 4 title with a 26-6 record. "You play so many games during the summer and roll out different kids at different times, but when it comes down to this tournament, you're not going to roll out six or seven pitchers. You're going with your best two or three."

Four teams from Area 4 are in the eight-field tournament, including the host Central Point Comets.

In today's opening action of the double-elimination format, the North Jackson Eagles play North Eugene at 9 a.m.; the Grants Pass Diggers take on the Pendleton Pepsi DiamondJaxx at noon; North Medford faces the La Grande Subway A's at 3 p.m.; and Central Point plays the Salem Senators at 6 p.m.

All of the games are at Anhorn Field on Upton Road.

Tickets for each day are $7 for adults and $4 for seniors and children. Kids 12 and under get in free.

North Medford was followed, in order, in the Area 4 standings by Grants Pass, Central Point and North Jackson.

"We're going to go at each game trying to do our best," says Wolfe. "We have goals, obviously, offensively, defensively and in hitting. We're going to go into each game trying to maximize our performance in whatever area we need at that time."

The Mavericks today will start either A.J. Miller (7-0), Charlie Walker (5-2) or Colton Westfall (6-1).

"We feel confident with anybody we put out there," says Wolfe. "We're just trying to set ourselves up for what's coming back."

Walker is "the best second baseman around," he says, so the defense is stronger when Walker is in the field.

If Wolfe had to pick a favorite, he says, it would be North Eugene because of its pitching strength.

Right-hander Andrew Moore would be a standout at the AAA level, says the Mavericks coach, and he's backed up by left-hander Toby Woods and right-hander Kevin Hasse.

"They're all very good," says Wolfe.

There will be four games today and Saturday with the same starting times, followed by three on Sunday at noon, 3 and 6; and two on Monday at noon and 3. On Tuesday's final day, the first championship game will be at noon. If a second is needed, it will be at 3.

"We definitely hopeful of bringing some more people out to the ballpark because we have so many local teams," says Central Point coach Jay Campbell. "It shows the strength of baseball in Southern Oregon, too. I think the field is fairly evenly matched. I don't think there's a clear-cut favorite on who's supposed to win this thing."

The Comet players have worked hard this week to prepare Anhorn Field for the tournament, says Campbell.

"You work real hard to get the thing ready and you're hopeful that you'll be playing on it, not someone else, the last few days of the tournament," he adds.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com

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