Ashland pitcher Ethan Schlecht fields a ball hit back toward the mound in the Pilots' loss to Salem Sunday. Ashland third baseman Hayden Miller watches in the background. - Larry Stauth Jr.

Salem stops Ashland's bid for another crown

It took 15 hits, a clutch performance by a relief pitcher and, indirectly, a football game played 5,000 miles away, but the Salem Senators ended the Ashland Pilots' reign atop the state of Oregon on Sunday.

Brandon Chinn was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and reliever Jamie Hoffman pitched his way out of three jams in the last three innings as Salem beat the two-time defending champions 10-8 in an American Legion A State Tournament loser-out game at North Medford High.

The win advances the Senators to the final round of the loser's bracket, where they will face Roseburg at 4 p.m. today.

Ashland, which played the tournament sans four starters who were in Japan for the Pacific Rim Bowl, suffered its second straight loss after beating Sheldon in the first round.

"Outstanding season," Ashland coach Josh Leedy said. "These guys compete in every single baseball game — comeback victories, extra-inning victories, dominating performances. I'm just really, really proud of the way they battled all season, took care of business and just came up a couple runs short in the end."

The eight-team, double-elimination tournament wraps up Tuesday.

The Pilots (36-8) scored five runs on six singles to cut an 8-2 deficit to 8-7 in the fifth, but they couldn't complete the comeback against Hoffman, who allowed one unearned run on three hits in 21/3 innings to pick up the save.

Salem starter Jordan Giza limited the Pilots to two runs on five hits through the first four innings but lost his swagger in the fifth, when he gave up two runs before getting pulled with nobody out and the bases loaded.

Two outs and three runs later, Hoffman took the mound and got Ashland slugger Luke Baldrica to ground into a fielder's choice with the bases juiced.

That was only the first successful escape by Hoffman. He also coaxed a long fly out with the tying run at third base in the sixth and another fly out with the tying run at the plate in the seventh.

Billy Hansen was 4-for-5 with two RBIs, and Brady Thomas was 3-for-4 with three RBIs to lead Ashland.

Ashland starting pitcher Ethan Schlecht allowed six earned runs on 15 hits in 62/3 innings. He struck out two and walked four.

Salem 302 120 2 — 10 15 2

Ashland 200 050 1 — 8 14 2

Giza, Chipman (5), Hoffman (5) and Ludwig; Schlecht and Westhelle. W — Giza. L — Schlecht. 2B — S: Hoffman, Chinn, Marlatt; A: Miller, Cecil.

ROSEBURG 16, LA GRANDE 0, 5 innings — Jay Tovey pitched a four-hitter, improving his record to 7-1 and leaving Roseburg Pepsi as the tournament's lone unbeaten team.

Tovey struck out four and walked one.

He got plenty of offensive support. Miles Morin was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, and Micah Audiss was 3-for-4. Joe Emery had two hits and two RBIs, and Darren Nelson had two hits and two runs.

La Grande faces North Medford at noon today, and Roseburg plays Salem at 4 p.m.

Games are nine innings for the remainder of the tournament.

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