Crater sophomore Ty Fox gets high fives from teammates after stealing home during the first game of the Comets' Southern Oregon Hybrid sweep of South Medford Saturday. - Andy Atkinson

Comets open season with a big bang

CENTRAL POINT — Ideally, says Crater baseball coach Jay Campbell, the Comets would have had a few practice games to work out the kinks before jumping into league play.

It didn't work out that way, but the Comets don't have much to blame on the rain so far.

"You never want to open the season with a league game," Campbell said, "but we're just trying to do the best we can with the situation."

So far, that's precisely what Crater has done.

Corey Wynant hit his first two home runs of the season, Crater ruled the basepaths and Chris Painter tossed a shutout in Game 2 as the Comets improved to 3-0 in Southern Oregon Hybrid play Saturday with a sweep of South Medford at Anhorn Field.

Ty Fox went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI as Crater won the opener 13-3 in five innings, and Painter held the Panthers to two hits while striking out eight in Crater's 5-0 Game 2 victory.

South Medford was playing its first games of the season after two rainouts and it showed in the opener as the Panthers committed four costly errors.

"We made some key mistakes and Crater capitalized on those," South Medford coach Ray Smith said. "All the credit to those kids. We didn't make the plays when we needed them and they did."

In the opener, Crater scored three runs in the second to take the lead for good, tying the game on a double steal and seizing a 2-1 lead when Stefano Sparacino came home on a wild pitch. Sebastian Reynolds followed with a double that scored Evan Erskine.

Facing South Medford ace Nate Namanny, Crater began to pull away by tacking on four runs in the third, and Wynant led off the fourth with a solo shot.

By then, Namanny was done, having thrown 88 pitches in three long innings.

"We knew that we were going to see their two best pitchers and our own game plan today was to make those guys work," Campbell said. "We ran (Namanny's) pitch count really high then we were able to get some timely hits."

Crater starter Nolan Bastendorff, a sophomore, limited the Panthers to five hits in his mini-complete game, striking out six with five walks.

In Game 2, Painter faced only 24 batters, three more than the minimum, and didn't allow a South Medford baserunner to advance beyond first base.

The Panthers' only hits were an infield single that could have been ruled an error, and a line drive in the seventh.

"Our pitchers have put in a lot of time in the offseason and they're able to throw strikes and keep hitters off balance, and that's what (Painter) was able to do (Saturday)," Campbell said.

Crater broke a scoreless tie in the fourth when Blake Fahndrich laced a two-run single.

The Comets then buried the Panthers in the sixth. Erskine walked, Reynolds was hit by a pitch, and Wynant, a senior third baseman, cranked his second homer of the day over the fence in left-center.

"Both those (Wynant home runs) came at key times and really deflated us, and we didn't respond," Smith said. "We've got to go back to practice, we've got to get after it and do the things that we need to do."

South Medford starter Austin Reames gave up five runs on four hits while striking out eight in five-plus innings.


South Medford 010 02 — 3 5 4

Crater 034 33 — 13 7 3

Namanny, Eastman (4) and Walker and White (3); Bastendorff and Aplin. W — Bastendorff (1-0). L — Namanny (0-1). 2B — C: Reynolds. HR — C: Wynant (1).


South Medford 000 000 0 — 0 2 0

Crater 000 203 x — 5 4 0

Reames, Berman (6) and White; Painter and Aplin. W — Painter (1-0). L — Reames (0-1). HR — C: Wynant (2).

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