Odom sparks Mustangs in rout of Knights

Wednesday's loss to Yakima served as a wake-up call for the Medford Mustangs American Legion AAA baseball team. At least, so hoped manager Sandee Kensinger.

Consider the Mustangs now fully alert.

One night after rolling to an 11-0 victory, Medford scored at least one run in six of its eight at-bats and erupted for 14 hits in a 12-3 rout of the East County Knights Friday on Day 3 of the Best of the West Wood Bat Challenge at Harry and David Field.

The Mustangs (9-5), who improved to 2-1 in the tournament, quickly spotted starting pitcher Andrew Jones a 6-1 lead after two innings, and the Knights wouldn't get closer than three runs the rest of the way.

"Overall, it was about pitch selection," said Medford first baseman Logan Odom, who went 4-for-5 with three runs and had a team-high three RBIs out of the cleanup spot. "We waited to find a good pitch to hit and we jumped on it."

Dustin Smith also had three hits and three runs, while Jordan Bostwick went 2-for-3 with three runs and Mark Austad and Jared Smith each had a pair of hits.

The Mustangs take on Susanville, Calif., today at 5 p.m. at Harry and David Field. The 2 p.m. game pits Fairfield, Calif., against East County.

In the Klamath Falls' bracket, Yakima plays Reno at 2 p.m. and Salem takes on Klamath Falls at 5 p.m. Both contests are at Kiger Stadium.

The tournament concludes Sunday.

Medford now has 27 hits over its last two games. Against the Yakima Beetles, the Mustangs managed just six hits in the 7-2 defeat.

But Medford came out swinging early and often against East County, a Portland-based team.

After the Knights struck for a single run in the first, the Mustangs pieced together four hits to grab a 3-1 lead. Odom, Austad and Jared Smith each had RBI hits in the inning.

In the second, Bostwick ripped a one-out triple to the right-center field gap, then came home when Dustin Smith smoked a double down the left-field line. Odom followed with another RBI single and an East County error — one of two in the inning — scored the final run of the frame.

Bostwick had an RBI double in the third and Odom delivered his fourth straight hit to drive in Bostwick in the fifth inning.

"It's always a good feeling to come up with guys on base," said Odom. "It seemed like there were guys in scoring position every time I was up. The guys ahead of me did a great job getting on base tonight."

Most of the damage came against East County starter Chris Hibler.

The left-hander needed 57 pitches to get through two innings and left after giving up seven hits and six runs.

Jones, on the other hand, was solid in 61/3 innings of work. He struck out five and gave up 10 hits to earn his second win in three decisions.

Derek Grieve, making his second appearance for the Mustangs this summer, came on in relief in the seventh to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam with one out, then set down the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings.

While not dominant, Jones' outing Friday was in stark contrast to his last appearance, when he was on the losing end of a 13-3 pasting by Salem Post 9.

"He got roughed up a bit," said Kensinger of Jones' start last week against the defending state Legion champions. "He was better (tonight) at locating in and out and keeping the ball down."

The loss to Yakima on the first day of the tournament assured Medford won't get a chance to add a third straight Best of the West title.

"We talked about that, and Coach K has put a lot of emphasis in us being up in the dugout and cheering on the team," said Bostwick. "He told us to keep our heads up and not get too down."

Medford, instead, will use the remaining two contests to prepare for the Area 4 opener on July 1 against Grants Pass.

"I'm a little disappointed we lost to Yakima," said Kensinger. "It would have been nice to defend. But hey, I think these guys have learned from the loss.

"Right now, July 1 is everything to us. We need to realize every game, every at-bat is important."

The Beetles, led by six RBIs from Kevin Komstadius, improved to 3-0 in the West pool with a 10-1 victory over the Salem Withnell Dodgers earlier on Friday at Harry and David. They will most likely meet the Sierra Sundevels of Reno, Nev., for the championship on Sunday.

East County Knights 102 000 000 — 3 10 3

Medford Mustangs 331 011 30x — 12 14 2

Hibler, Lorentson (3), Harding (5), Reeves (7) and Paul; Jones, Grieve (7) and Bruhns. W — Jones (2-1). L — Hibler. 2B — EC: Paul; M: D. Smith, Bostwick, Austad. 3B — M: Bostwick.


Yakima Beetles 000 100 405 — 10 15 3

Salem Dodgers 100 000 000 — 1 11 2

Mitchum, Favilla (5), Komstadius (9) and Gordon; Waters, Sigado (7), Hoffman (9) and Wilson. W — Favilla. L — Sigado. 2B — Y: Meza, Cacchiotti. 3B — Y: Komstadius. HR — Y: Komstadius.

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483, or e-mail kgoff@mailtribune.com

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