Crater's Dennae Grant, left, avoids the tag of South Medford's Ricki Tacdol at second base during the ninth inning on Tuesday. - Jamie Lusch

Crater edges South in extras

CENTRAL POINT — Leadoff hitter Dennae Grant produced in a big way for the Crater Comets in Southern Oregon Hybrid softball Tuesday.

The senior center fielder rapped four hits and scored three times — including the decisive run — as the Comets edged South Medford 4-3 in nine innings at Don Faber Field.

"South battles us so tough," Crater coach Chris Arnold said. "All three games have been incredible. It's another reminder of the grueling schedule in the Southern Oregon Hybrid."

The Comets (10-7, 7-3 SOH) have come out on top in the two previous meetings against the scrappy Panthers. Crater won the first matchup by one run in 12 innings, then posted a 4-2 victory.

On Tuesday, the Panthers (6-11, 3-7 SOH) came from behind twice to tie the game before the Comets finally prevailed in extra innings.

Crater produced the winning run when Grant singled with one out in the ninth, stole second and scored on Malorie Mitchell's liner in the left-center field gap.

"(Grant) set the table for us really nice today," said Arnold.

The Comets got two runs in the first inning off South pitcher Lucy Baldovino. Haley Fox's two-out, short pop up in right field fell between two Panther defenders and two runs scored.

In the fifth, a one-out single by South's Lindsey Namanny and Ricki Tacdol's double put runners at second and third. One out later, Ashleigh Hawkins connected for a two-run double to tie the score 2-all.

In the bottom of the frame, Grant opened with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on Renee Murphy's RBI single.

South rallied for the tying run with two outs and nobody on in the seventh. Hawkins' RBI single scored Tacdol, who reached on an error and was safe at second on Sam Owirka's fielder's choice.

Murphy struck out eight, walked five and hit one batter in registering her 10th victory in 15 decisions.

"(Murphy) is turning into a gutsy pitcher," said Arnold. "She'd like to have a couple of pitches back but she did a good job locating, especially when she needed to."

Hawkins paced the Panthers with two hits and three RBIs, while Namanny and Owirka had two hits each.

For Crater, Rachel Ray and Sarah Haga each contributed two hits.

"Our kids did a great job of remaining focused and continued to come at them," said Arnold. "Anytime we hook up with South, it's going to be a classic."

South Medford 000 020 100 — 3 8 1

Crater 200 010 001 — 4 13 1

Baldovino and Ramsay; Murphy and Haga. W — Murphy (10-5). L — Baldovino. 2B — SM: Tacdol, Hawkins.

Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480, or email

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