NORTH BEND — North Jackson head coach Tyson Wolfe wasn’t exactly sure which strategy to employ when it came to his pitchers in opening the American Legion A state tournament on Wednesday.
Fortunately for the Royals, right-handed ace Skyler Gaudern quieted any concerns.
Gaudern didn’t allow an earned run in a complete-game effort that kept North Jackson in the top half of the bracket with a 7-2 win over Columbia Gorge of The Dalles. Gaudern allowed three hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in his seven innings.
“That was kind of the question mark coming in,” said Wolfe, “who should we throw to start the tournament and how long? We decided to go with our ace and he got the job done. He gave up three hits but they never hit him hard.”
Despite a shaky start that saw two North Jackson runners picked off first base in the first inning, the Royals (20-10) kept at it and broke through with three runs in the second inning, highlighted by a two-run single by Kolbi Blevins. Blevins finished 2-for-3 with one run and two RBIs.
Kyler Kendrick added a two-run single in the third inning to make it 5-0 and, after Columbia Gorge had scored two unearned runs in the fourth, North Jackson responded with a two-run single by Gaudern in the sixth to secure the victory.
The Royals return to Clyde Allen Field at 3 p.m. today and will face the Hillsboro Skysox, who edged Roseburg Pepsi 12-10 in 10 innings in their opener.
Skyler Gaudern and Kyler Kendrick; Gonzales, Johnson (2), BC (4), Nelson (5), Smith (6) and Vaughn. W — Gaudern. L — Johnson.
ROSEBURG DR. RANDOL’S 9, SOUTH MEDFORD 4: At North Bend, uncharacteristic errors and an offense that produced only three hits handcuffed South Medford in its American Legion A state tournament at Clyde Allen Field.
Logan Lauchstedt singled home a run and Charlie Campbell plated a run in the third inning to cut South Medford’s deficit to 3-2, but a five-run fifth inning by Roseburg built on only one basehit proved costly for the Colts (15-11).
Bennett Smith and Blake Shields had the only other hits for South Medford, which faces an elimination game at noon today against the loser of Wednesday’s late game between Klamath Falls and North Coos.
Great West League
CHICO 7, MEDFORD 5: At Chico, Calif., Blake Baumgartner hit a pair of home runs but relief pitching woes put a damper on the Medford Rogues’ hopes in a Great West League loss to league-leading Chico.
Baumgartner hit a solo home run in the third inning and a two-run shot in the fifth inning to pace Medford (26-23), which also got an RBI single by Logan Meadows.
With the Rogues up 5-3 in the sixth inning, the Heat (39-11) drew four straight walks from relief pitcher Chase Spinning to trim their deficit to one run. Kolby Button then came on for Spinning but walked Chico’s next batter on four pitches for a fifth straight walk to open the frame, creating a tie game.
A fielder’s choice and a two-out RBI single by Brandon Stewart put Chico ahead 7-5 before Button could get out of the inning.
Tommy Ahlstrom and Baumgartner each drew one-out walks in the ninth inning to put the tying runs on base in pinch-runners Robby Ahlstrom and Shea Scott.
A wild pitch advanced both into scoring position but neither was able to score after Chico reliever Sam Abernathy got the final two outs, the final one on a diving catch in right-center by Cole Lemmel to rob Mitch Neunborn of a potential game-tying hit.
Simpson, Spinning (5), Button (6) and Elvis; Elder, Smith (4), Gerber (6), Galvagno (7), Abernathy (9) and Stowe. W — Gerber (2-0). L — Spinning (3-1). S — Abernathy (4). 2B — C: Roundy. HR — M: Baumgartner 2 (5); C: Stowe (2).