GRANTS PASS — North Medford remained in contention for its ninth consecutive conference championship in softball with a doubleheader split against Southwest Conference co-leader Grants Pass on Saturday.
Grants Pass won the first game, 3-2, when it scored the final run on a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth inning.
North Medford got two home runs and a second straight five-hit pitching performance from Rylan Austin in a 4-1 victory in Game 2, making both teams 13-2 in the SWC with three games remaining. The Black Tornado, 18-4 overall, won two of the three games between the two.
“You know what, we went over there and got done what we needed to get done, win one out of two,” said Black Tornado coach Chris Campbell.
After the opening loss, North Medford regrouped.
“We talked about it before the game,” said Campbell. “We can lay down and let this affect us or we can go play a solid game and put pressure on them by playing our style. And we did that.”
In the nightcap, Lauren Barry singled and Alex Barry walked to start the third inning. Austin then crunched a three-run home run.
The senior added a solo homer in the seventh, her fourth of the season.
In the circle, Austin struck out six and didn’t walk anyone. Four of the five hits she allowed were doubles. Halleigh Noga and Alyssa Etheridge each had one in the sixth for the Cavers’ run.
Lily Gann was 3-for-3 with a triple for North Medford, while Grace Gaither had two hits for Grants Pass.
“When we get a pitching performance like she (Austin) had today and we stick behind her with defense, we’re going to be a tough team to beat,” said Campbell.
In the first game, two walks and a Gaither double led to two runs in the first for the Cavers. An Austin sacrifice fly in the third, and, in the sixth, a Gann single scored Chelby Smalley to tie it.
Grants Pass notched the winning run when a flare by Devin Ireland over first base resulted in a double. She advanced to third on an error and scored when a dropball pitch got past Smalley.
In North Medford’s seventh, Alex Barry opened with a single but Austin hit into a double play. Smalley doubled but was thrown out by right fielder Hailey Yount when she rounded the base.
Smalley was 4-for-4 and Alex Barry 2-for-4 in Game 1, and Gaither was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
North Medford 001 001 0 — 2 9 2
Grants Pass 200 001 x — 3 5 0
Austin and Smalley; Etheridge and Kuykendall. W — Etheridge. L — Austin (17-3). 2B — NM: Smalley; GP: Gaither, Ireland.
North Medford 003 000 1 — 4 10 1
Grants Pass 000 001 0 — 1 5 0
Austin and Smalley; Etheridge and Kuykendall. W — Austin (18-3). L — Etheridge. 2B — GP: Gaither, Dougherty, Noga, Etheridge. 3B — NM: Gann. HR — NM: Austin 2 (4).
EAGLE POINT 15-7, SPRINGFIELD 1-3: At Springfield, Gillian Willis went 3-for-4 with three doubles and four RBIs in the opener and Coleen Thompson had three hits, including two doubles, in the nightcap as the Eagles extended their winning streak to seven games with the Midwestern League sweep.
Willis, Riley Shopp and Thompson led Eagle Point’s offensive explosion in Game 1, which was called after five innings by the 10-run mercy rule. Shopp went 2-for-4 with a double, her first home run and four RBIs, and Thompson 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.
In the second game, Miyah Smith held Springfield to three runs in six innings, and Emma Stevens delivered a clutch, two-run single in the sixth to help put away Springfield.
Eagle Point (10)10 31 — 15 12 1
Springfield 000 01 — 1 2 4
Shopp and C. Thompson; McKinney and Wolford. W — Shopp (13-4). L — McKinney. 2B — EP: Willis 3, C. Thompson 2, Shopp 1. 3B — S: Silva-Martinez. HR — EP: Shopp (1).
Eagle Point 400 003 0 — 7 12 1
Springfield 010 002 0 — 3 2 3
Smith, Shopp (7) and C. Thompson; Vargas and Wolford. W — Smith (4-1). L — Vargas. 2B — EP: Willis, C. Thompson 2. HR — S: Rodriguez.
PHOENIX 8-4, HIDDEN VALLEY 7-5: At Murphy, Phoenix used a hot bat from Halie Bowman to win its second Skyline Conference game in the opener before settling for a split.
Bowman was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs in the opener for the Pirates (6-13, 2-10 Sky).
Brooke Kentner homered twice for Phoenix in the second game, going 3-for-3. Kate Hanson was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Phoenix 020 101 4 — 8 9 1
Hidden Valley 301 120 0 — 7 12 0
Mathewson and Bowman; Norberg and Caddock. W — Mathewson (3-6). L — Norberg. 2B — P: Hanson, Bowman; HV: Hayes, Norberg, Stone. HR — P: Bowman.
Phoenix 200 002 0 — 4 8 1
Hidden Valley 101 201 x — 5 8 1
Perez, Hayes (6) and Caddock. W — Hayes. L — Truex (3-6). 2B — P: Hanson, Bolstad. HR — P: Kentner 2.