EUGENE — With one loss and fatigued arms throwing at the mound, the Medford Mustangs needed to keep wielding hot bats and come up with big plays on defense to stay alive in the double-elimination American Legion AAA state tournament.
The Mustangs did both in Friday's game against Eugene.
After roaring back from four-run deficit, Medford received a late-inning home run from Cody James and used a big defensive catch from Seth Brown keep its lead intact, as the Mustangs held off Eugene at Swede Johnson Stadium for a 11-9 victory.
The Mustangs (36-11) survived in their third game of the tournament to earn a date with Salem Withnell today at 7 p.m. The Dodgers beat Roseburg, 14-4.
James' two-run homer, his seventh deep ball of the year, cleared the right-centerfield wall and put the Mustangs up, 10-7.
But in the bottom of the inning, Garrett Harpole answered for the Challengers with a two-run homer of his own to make it a 10-9 contest.
After the Mustangs tacked on one more run in the top of the eighth, the Challengers threatened with runners on second and third base, and the go-ahead run at the plate.
The Challengers' Brett Nielson smashed a deep fly ball to center, but Brown made a leaping grab at the wall to escape the inning.
Nate Namanny picked up the win in relief and Chris Bradshaw went the final 22/3 innings to lasso his first save of the season.
James finished 2-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored and Brown went 3-for-6, scored two runs and plated another.
The Mustangs' Kameron Kaufman went 2-for-6 and drove in a pair of runs while Ethan Schlecht went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Medford 200 012 510 — 11 12 2
Eugene 033 001 200 — 9 12 5
Morrison, Namanny (3), Bradshaw (7) and Sowers; Lessel, Harpole (6), Mills (7) and Kiesse. W — Nammany (4-2). L — Harpole. 2B — E: Mills; M: Hornbrook, James, Kaufman, Schlecht. HR — M: James; E: Harpole.
LA GRANDE 9, NORTH MEDFORD 4 — At Central Point, Carson Miller hit a three-run home run to erase an early deficit and the La Grande Subway A's blew it open with six more runs in the fifth to win a first-round game at Anhorn Field.
The North Medford Mavericks (45-14) came up with three runs in the sixth but that was as close as they would get.
Hayden Evans went 2-for-3 with a run scored and RBI to lead North Medford, which plays North Jackson at 9 a.m. this morning in an elimination game.
Logan Langford was 3-for-4 with two RBIs to lead a 12-hit attack for La Grande.
In other games at the double-elimination tournament, the Grants Pass Diggers beat Pendleton Pepsi Diamond Jaxx 6-3.
La Grande 000 360 0 — 9 12 1
North Medford 100 003 0 — 4 8 4
Woodward and Arnoldus; Miller, Crofton (5) and Zavala, Janakas (7). W — Woodward. L — Miller. 2B — L: Rogers, Arnoldus, Brown. HR — L: Miller.
NORTH EUGENE 11, NORTH JACKSON 0, 5 inn. — At Central Point, North Eugene pounded out 13 hits and erupted for six runs in the fifth inning to defeat the North Jackson Eagles. The game was called after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
The Eagles managed only two hits off Tobey Wood, who also struck out seven and walked one.
Chris Clayton was 3-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs to lead North Eugene, while Erik Long, Wood, Cory Shuster and Dalton Pachano each added two hits.
North Jackson 000 00 — 0 2 2
North Eugene 221 6x — 11 13 1
Morgan, Wilson (4) and Wilkinson, Morgan (4); Wood and Pachano. W — Wood. L — Morgan. 2B — NJ: Wilson.
CENTRAL POINT 9, SALEM 8 — At Central Point, a four-run fourth inning thrusted Central Point into the lead as the Comets advanced in the state tournament.
The Comets (31-19) play the Grants Pass Diggers today at 6 p.m. at Anhorn Field. Grants Pass topped Pendleton, 6-3, to move into the winner's bracket as well.
Taylor Pardee's two-run double capped the inning to put the Comets up 9-7. In the previous at-bat, Ty Fox drove in Sebastian Reynolds with a single. The other run was scored on a throwing error.
Reynolds went 3-for-4, scored twice and drove in a run for the Comets, who received a 2-for-4, two-RBI effort from Fox.
Salem Senators 304 010 0 — 8 16 5
Central Point 140 400 x — 9 10 1
Butler, Herber (4) and Cohen; Preston, Painter (3) and Aplin. W — Painter (4-2). L — Butler. 2B — S: Hanneble, Scott, Cohen; CP: Reynolds, Pardee, Sparacino, Ryerson. HR — S: Scott.