North-Jesuit tilt highlights today's action

One of the best matchups in the state baseball playoffs will take place in Medford today when third-ranked Jesuit takes on the top-ranked Black Tornado at North Medford High.

Today's Class 6A quarterfinal, scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m., offers a rematch of last year's second-round affair that saw the host Crusaders score a 10-6 victory. Jesuit eventually lost to Redmond in the quarterfinals.

In last year's meeting, Jesuit jumped out to a 6-0 lead before the Black Tornado rallied behind two late home runs by Logan Odom.

North Medford (24-3) has returned the bulk of that team for its run this season, and will be banking on that added experience to help push the Black Tornado into the semifinal round for the first time since its runner-up finish to Crater in 2000.

Also today, Class 5A No. 3 Crater (21-5-1) plays host to No. 8 West Albany (18-9) at 4:30 p.m. at Anhorn Field and No. 5 Corvallis (21-6) is at Ashland (17-10). In Class 2A/1A baseball, sixth-ranked Cascade Christian (18-2) plays at Riddle (14-7).

In today's other baseball games involving area teams, Hidden Valley plays host to Astoria and Brookings-Harbor is at Henley in Class 4A action, while Roseburg is at West Linn in 6A play.

The Black Tornado enters today's tilt fresh off a 4-2 victory over visiting Lake Oswego on Tuesday, while Jesuit (23-6) slipped by host Tigard 5-4 in eight innings. In the Crusaders' first-round affair, the Metro League co-champions had seven extra-base hits and 21 overall to breeze by McNary 21-4.

Leading the charge for Jesuit has been a host of all-Metro selections in senior infielder Tim David, senior outfielder Zane Norris, junior outfielder Doug Kincaid and junior utility player Cameron Love.

Love picked up the win in relief of starting pitcher Michael Lowe on Tuesday, with each hurler going four innings. Shortstop Michael Yanzick scored the winning run in the eighth inning after garnering a leadoff walk, advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt and passed ball and, finally, scoring on a groundout by Norris.

In Jesuit's first-round romp last Friday, the Crusaders shared the wealth offensively as Lowe was 5-for-6 with five runs and senior designated hitter Aaron Campbell 3-for-3 with five RBIs. David and Kincaid each were 3-for-4 for Jesuit, while starting pitcher Joe Supple was perfect through four innings before McNary finally broke through.

The Crusaders rose to the No. 1 spot in the Class 6A coaches poll until falling back thanks to a pair of losses to Southridge. Jesuit's 10-5 league record was equaled by Aloha, but the Crusaders earned the Metro's No. 1 seed by virtue of a tiebreaker.

In the last meeting between Jesuit and North Medford in the Rogue Valley, the Black Tornado scored an 8-4, first-round victory in the 2004 state playoffs.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail

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