Mustangs rally falls short – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Medford’s season ends with a loss to two-time defending national champion Idaho Falls

Medford gave itself a chance when all was said and done Saturday afternoon in the American Legion AAA Northwest Regional, and that’s all Mustangs manager Nate Mayben insisted he could ask for in Gillette, Wyoming.

The Mustangs scored three times in the top of the seventh inning and tied second base and had the go-ahead at first as Idaho Falls finally got out of the jam and earned an 8-7 victory to eliminate Medford on the 4th at Hladky Memorial Stadium.

“They battled,” Mayben said of his team. “I couldn’t be more proud of the fight they had. They gave themselves a chance, but that’s a really good baseball team that we played and that’s just baseball right there. There’s nothing more I could ask from the boys, they gave us everything they had.”

It was the second time this season that Medford (39-9) fell short to the Idaho Falls Bandits (35-9-1), who are the two-time defending national champions and will play Wyoming state champion Cheyenne (67 -11). ) Sunday for the regional title.

Earlier Saturday, the Cheyenne Sixers eliminated the Billings (Montan) Royals 3-2.

“We were close, and for a young team that’s pretty good,” Mayben said. “We can definitely hang our hat on it and say we did a good job this summer. We achieved a lot and now we have 14 of our 15 guys able to come back next year and the potential to add some really good ones of the valley next year, so I think our expectations will be back to where we are right now.”

Struggling to keep hope alive for a potential sixth regional championship, the Mustangs entered their final at-bat trailing 8-4, but did not waver in their resolve.

Cameron Sewell led off the seventh with a single and led off with a Jace Miller single. After a wild pitch moved each runner up 90 feet, Aiden Horsley bounced an RBI single off reliever Eliot Jones to make it 8-5.

Jeremiah Robbins followed with a floater down the right field line that landed safely and allowed another run to score. Frankie Rutigliano then hit the ball on the nose, but his liner was thrown into left field to leave Medford with its final out.

Unhittable, pinch-hitter Owen Thompson ripped a shot to center that bounced off the shortstop and cut the deficit to 8-7. Idaho Falls then turned to its fourth pitcher of the day in Jaxon Grimmett and Johnny King, who hit .357 for the tournament, evened the count at 2-2 before Grimmett recorded a game-ending strikeout.

“Throughout the lineup, they found a way to get on base and score a few runs there,” Mayben said of the seventh-inning surge. “What more can I ask them to do, put the ball in play hard.”

“Johnny fought there at the end but it didn’t happen to him,” he added, “but we wouldn’t have been in this position without him. He had a stellar summer for us and stepped up a lot when we had some injuries and it put him in a position to be able to play regularly and helped us get to where we were.”

Earlier in the game, Medford erased a 2-0 deficit with a four-run second inning outburst.

Horsley, who finished the tournament with a team-best .583 batting average, had the first of his two hits to set the stage and then Robbins and Rutigliano drew walks to load the bases. Horsley then scored on a slider in front of a tag he avoided at home plate after a Kaleb Long sacrifice fly.

“Aiden had a good tournament,” Mayben said. “He found himself in a lot of double counts, too, and he just battled and battled and fouled balls and then lined a fly ball to right-center. Then the next at-bat he hit a hard drive to left field. He had a very good approach throughout the tournament.”

King’s all-out hustle on an ensuing bunt to shortstop kept the inning moving as he dove into the first base bag and won the throw to load the bases again. Cody Borraggine, who hit .545 in the tournament, nearly sent a roller down the first base line, but a throwing effort allowed Idaho Falls to get one out at first, but the tying run was able to score in the play

In the next at bat, Sewell’s grounder was misplayed to allow two more runs to score and give Medford a 4-2 lead.

The Bandits, however, were able to turn the tide and score four runs of their own in the third, highlighted by a two-run single by Ryan Horvath with two outs in the inning.

“That was a big hit for them, for sure,” Mayben said. “We almost came out pretty limited, but they did what championship teams do and came up with a big hit with two outs and two RBIs and that really settled them down. You could see their confidence grow, but ours didn’t. don’t let it.”

Idaho Falls, which was 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position and 3-for-9 with two outs, plated single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to create enough of a cushion for the eventual victory.

The Mustangs finished with nine hits, but were just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-10 with two outs.

Sewell and King were 2-for-4 with a run, while Horsley was 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI to pace Medford, while Jones was 3-for-3 with three runs and an RBI and Nate Rose was. 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI to lead the Bandits.

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Bandits of Idaho Falls 204110x—8122

Sewell, Aldrich (5) and Robbins; Belnap, Whitney (5), E. Jones (6), Grimmett (7) and Carlson, Woods (6). W – Belnap. L — Sewell (3-3). 2B — YES: Rose 2. 3B — YES: E. Jones.

Got a story idea? Contact sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford’s Aiden Horsley went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI Saturday to finish with a team-best .583 batting average in the Northwest Regional.

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