NORTH BEND — Two outs from elimination against the American Legion A state tournament favorites, Jacob Leeper and North Jackson showed everyone why to never count the Royals out of contention.
Facing a three-run deficit heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, Leeper capped the Royals rally with a game-winning three-run double that catapulted North Jackson into the final day of the tournament with a 9-8 win over North Coos on Saturday at Clyde Allen Field.
The Royals (22-11) will face fellow one-loss Hillsboro today at 1 p.m. to decide the championship game opponent for North Coos, which has already wrapped up a title game berth. North Jackson’s opponent on Saturday would have been Hillsboro if not for a tournament rule that does not allow two teams to play each other twice until the final day. Thursday, the first time they faced, Hillsboro beat North Jackson 14-1 in five innings.
The championship game will be played today at 4 p.m.
With North Coos (30-3) leading 8-5, Darin Marsh kicked off the seventh inning with a double, and after one out and an error that put runners at first and third, Domenic Fontana drove home Marsh with a single to cut North Coos’ lead to 8-6.
Skylar Gaudern followed with a single that loaded the bases and set the stage for Leeper. Leeper turned on a 2-1 fastball, sending it off the wall in right-center to keep the Royals alive and send his teammates jumping over the dugout wall and storming the field in jubilation.
“It’s probably the biggest hit of his young career.” said Royals coach Tyson Wolfe. “They were the favorites but we just kept battling. We’ve been scrapping all week. It was a great high school baseball game. To see the kids jumping over the wall on the walkoff, it was a good experience for Eagle Point athletes and it was a big win for the program.”
Royals reliever Devin Bradd threw just nine pitches in the seventh to earn the win. He hit the first batter he faced, struck out the second then got a double play that kept the North Coos lead at three runs.
Fontana, Marsh and Kyler Kendrick all went 2-for-4. Fontana had a two-run double in the Royals’ five-run third inning, Marsh scored twice and Kendrick drove in a run and scored once.
North Coos 010 412 0 — 8 6 3
North Jackson 005 000 4 — 9 10 3
Moe and Washern; Blevins, Foulon (4), Bradd (7) and . W — Bradd. L — Moe. 2B — NC: Frank 2; NJ: Leeper, Marsh, Fontana.
MEDFORD ROGUES 15, YUBA SUTTER GOLD SOX 8: At Marysville, Calif., Cole Carder hit two home runs and finished with four RBIs for Medford, which recovered from a slow start and took the second game of three from Yuba Sutter at Colusa Casino Stadium.
Carder, the former South Medford High star, hit a leadoff homer in the top of the sixth inning and, in the next inning, went deep for a three-run shot.
The Rogues (28-24), who are third in the Great West League standings, were down by one run in the top of the fifth until Josh McIntyre’s two-run double gave Medford the lead for good before he was driven home on a double by Mitchell Neunborn. The next batter, Cole Elvis, knocked home Neunborn with a triple. Elvis capped the five-run frame by scoring on Josh Congton’s sacrifice fly.
McIntyre finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored, while Neunborn also went for a pair of doubles and drove in three runs.
Congdon was 2-for-3 and Tommy Ahlstrom finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Rogues.
Medford Rogues 000 253 401 — 15 15 1
Yuba Sutter Gold Sox 030 000 320 — 8 11 2
Brinkman, Pike (4), Daguio (7), Smith (8) and Elvis; Verhees, Rodriguez (4), Chzodo (5), Brandwood (6), Saller (7), Engelhardt (8) and Terao. W — Pike (1-0). L — Rodriguez (0-1). 2B — M: Ahlstrom, McIntyre 2, Neunborn 2. 3B — M: Elvis. HR — M: Carder 2.