Medford Mustangs catcher Lewis Sebrell attempts to tag out Las Vegas’ Brooks Klein at home in the fourth inning.

Late surge sparks Mustangs

With as much talent as the Medford Mustangs have on their roster, it seemed unfathomable to anyone associated with the American Legion AAA program that the local boys would be carrying a .280 team batting average into Thursday night's game against the Las Vegas Lions.

That average was in danger of dipping even lower through five innings of the Best of the West Wood Bat Challenge game at Harry & David Field, with the Mustangs managing just two baserunners to that point.

But with a second straight tourney loss staring them in the face, the Mustangs turned it up a notch by belting 12 hits and scoring 12 unanswered runs over the final four innings to earn a much-needed 12-2 triumph.

"It hasn't been there for us, but I wasn't worried about it," said Medford first baseman Logan Odom, who is joined by Griff Boyd as the only Mustangs hitting over .400.

The Mustangs (8-3) will look to maintain their momentum when they return to Harry & David Field tonight at 7 to take on the Salem Withnell Dodgers (8-2). In today's other games at H&D, Las Vegas (13-3) plays Corvallis Richey's Market at 11 a.m. and then takes on Fairfield B&L (14-8) at 4 p.m.

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning, Medford finally broke through against Las Vegas left-hander Matt Klein as Lewis Sebrell earned a leadoff walk, Zack Earle was hit by a pitch and Kory Locken reached on a bunt single to load the bases.

Medford's inability in recent games to come up with the big hit was quickly erased when pinch-hitter Kody Stevens lined an RBI single into right field. Mustangs manager Sandee Kensinger got a little greedy and wound up waving Earle home in hopes of scoring on the play, but the fleet-footed shortstop was no match for a good relay home to catcher Chad Claus.

After Dustin Smith grounded into a fielder's choice at second, it looked as if Medford might only get one run out of the frame until Odom came up with the biggest hit of the game. The left-hander's two-strike hard chopper over first base and into the right field corner wound up plating two runs — much to Kensinger's delight.

"He bailed me out there, big-time," said the manager. "I'm off the hook with that. Logan picked us up there."

That 3-2 lead held up until the top of the eighth, when the Mustangs really broke loose with six runs off Las Vegas reliever Thomas Godfrey.

Earle led off with a perfectly executed bunt single that rolled up the line and hit the bag under the watchful eye of third baseman Andrew Garcia, and Trent Smith followed with a one-out single. After Dustin Smith was walked to load the bases, Odom once again came through in the clutch with a bases-clearing double to the right field fence.

"It's a big relief," Odom said of coming up with the clutch hits. "It's going to come around for everybody, not just me. Everyone's going to take their turn and start swinging the bat. It'll be there, especially when it matters when league comes around."

The floodgates seemed to open from there as Boyd followed with a single and Jared Smith supplied a two-run double. Blake Mitchell's sacrifice fly made it 9-2, and you could see the spring return to the Mustangs after that six-run outburst.

"Once a couple guys started getting those big hits when it mattered, I think it really boosted our confidence and gave us a little kick-start," said Odom, who finished 3-for-5 with two runs and five RBIs.

Medford tacked on three more runs in the top of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Dustin Smith, an RBI single by Boyd and another RBI double by Jared Smith.

Boyd joined Odom in going 3-for-5, while Jared Smith was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and Earle 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

The late scoring surge allowed Sam Gaviglio to pick up his first win as a Mustang. The Ashland right-hander pitched a phenomenal game through seven innings, allowing six hits with eight strikeouts and one earned run.

"His changeup was awesome, and he has a lot of confidence throwing it," said Kensinger.

Left-hander Jordan Lewis came on in relief in the eighth inning and struck out five of his six batters faced.

Las Vegas broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with a run on two hits and an error. Brooks Klein started things off with a two-out single and advanced to second when Matt Holman's high chopper up the middle caught Earle in between bounces.

With runners at first and second, Scotty Tomassetti slipped a single through the right side of the infield and Klein never broke stride as he chugged toward home. Mustangs right fielder Blake Mitchell came up throwing a strike to catcher Lewis Sebrell that had the runner beaten to the plate, but Sebrell was unable to secure the ball in his mitt.

The Lions tacked on their other run in the fifth on a wild play that involved a hard grounder toward first baseman Odom that ricocheted off his glove and was barehanded in a nice play by second baseman Dustin Smith. Smith's two-out relay to Gaviglio, however, was thrown wide of first to allow Lance Ray to score from third.

In Thursday's earlier action at H&D, Fairfield B&L (14-8) edged the Salem Withnell Dodgers 6-3. In the Klamath Falls bracket of the Best of the West tourney, the Klamath Falls Falcons beat the East County Knights, 10-0, and Sierra Sun Devils beat Corvallis Richey's Market, 10-9.

Medford Mustangs 000 003 063 — 12 14 2

Las Vegas Lions 000 110 000 — 2 6 1

Gaviglio, Lewis (8) and L. Sebrell, Sowers (6); M. Klein, Godfrey (8), Barnes (9) and Claus. W — Gaviglio (1-0). L — M. Klein. 2B — M: Odom 2, J. Smith 2.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail

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