North Medford's Jenna Stevens slides into third base for a triple while avoiding the tag by Central Catholic's Emille DeRemer on Friday - Jamie Lusch

Rams stun Black Tornado

Time had played its trick on Kelsey Leming — it had passed too quickly, leaving behind a trail of sweet memories and a painful realization.

Suddenly, this was her final game.

"Bottom of the eighth inning, it definitely got me thinking this could be the last time I'll be out here," the North Medford senior softball player said.

Vaunted Central Catholic senior pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby struck out 10 and crushed a key solo home run as the fifth-ranked Rams upset the top-ranked Black Tornado, 4-1, in a Class 6A state quarterfinal game at North Medford High on Friday.

The 6-foot-1 Inglesby, who's signed a letter of intent with Washington, induced clutch strikeouts in the fourth and fifth innings, when North (26-3) threatened to take the lead. She was just as tough at the plate, launching a towering shot to center field in the top of the eighth to give Central Catholic a 2-1 advantage.

The Rams tacked on two more runs on a North error three batters later, spoiling the defending 6A champion's chance to repeat. Central Catholic will face the winner of today's Sunset/Oregon City game in the semifinals on Tuesday.

The bottom of the final inning ended with three quick outs and a roar from the road team's cheering section.

"One run against North Medford is no insurance by any means," Central Catholic head coach Jim Taylor said. "Because they are a top-notch ballclub that will put runners on base, will steal on you; they will advance runners, they will move around, they'll play trick plays and you can never be satisfied with one run."

Inglesby, who improved to 20-5, allowed seven hits — three of them coming in the fourth — and just one walk. After attempting a bunt, she collided violently with first baseman Tejay Schmidt in the top of the sixth. After several minutes, Inglesby got up and delicately walked to the dugout.

She would return with full force.

"To take a hit like that and come back out here, that was inspirational," North head coach Mike Mayben said. "She's an amazing pitcher."

North pitcher Kelsie Bartley matched Inglesby's in-circle excellence for most of the game. The sophomore struck out eight and surrendered only two hits and two walks before being relieved in the seventh inning. After allowing a double and hitting a batter, Bartley was replaced by freshman Maryssa Becker.

Freshman Baylee Westrick homered to center in the top of the third inning to give the Rams (20-5) a 1-0 lead. Logan Hagey tied the contest in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single that scored McKenna Storey.

Neither team was willing to give up an inch early on, combining for just three hits in the first three innings. Storey and Amanda Wolfe recorded back-to-back singles to open the fourth inning. After Schmidt flew out and Hagey whacked her run-scoring hit, Inglesby fanned the next two batters.

An inning later, Jenna Stevens pounded a two-out triple, but Inglesby struck out Storey to close the inning.

"I think at the start of game she was carrying a lot of the weight on her own shoulders, trying to win it with one pitch," Taylor said. "She has one heck of a young team behind her."

Central Catholic, which went undefeated in the Mt. Hood Conference, extended its winning streak to 17 games with the victory.

North defeated the Rams, 2-0, in the second round of the playoffs last spring.

"I knew we would face them again and I knew we would be in for a dog fight," Taylor said.

Schmidt, one of North's five seniors, said her happiest memories with her teammates will long outlive Friday's score.

"I'm sad that this is my last game ever, and I really wish I could continue to play with these girls," an emotional Schmidt said. "I'll never forget those girls and playing with them. They were the best years of my life for sure."

Mayben, who talked with his players at length afterward, said they were some of his best years, too.

"I am extremely proud of them," he said. "This one moment can not change the fact that they were a great team all year long. I was very impressed by the fortitude of my kids."

Central Catholic 001 000 03 — 4 5 0

North Medford 000 100 00 — 1 7 2

Inglesby and Krupsky; Bartley, Becker (7) and Wolfe. W — Inglesby. L — Becker (2-2). 2B — CC: Krupsky. 3B — NM: Stevens. HR — CC: Westrick, Inglesby.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or e-mail

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