Medford beats Hillsboro in 11 innings, earns automatic spot in state championship final
Medford Mustangs coach Nate Mayben was prophetic Sunday night when he said his team’s winner-takes-all contest Monday against the Hillsboro Barbers would be a battle.
As quick and efficient as Medford’s second American Legion AAA state tournament win was that night, it was just as long and stressful Monday night at Legion Field in Roseburg.
It was also just as successful.
In what turned into a back-and-forth prizefight with both undefeated teams landing big punches, it was a little hitting that got the job done for the Mustangs as they rallied in the late in the 11th inning to win 7-6 over the Barbers. .
“This was an excellent performance by the whole team throughout,” Mayben said. “They persevered and stayed cool and calm, I’m proud of them. They never went up or down too much, they acted like a very mature team for how young they are.”
Hillsboro had broken a 5-all tie that had held for three extra innings with a go-ahead run in the top of the 11th, but a smokey double to center field by Tanner Douglas and an RBI single by Aiden Horsley tied the game Medford. even again
A wild pitch moved Horsley into scoring position at second base and the Barbers elected to intentionally walk Jeremiah Robbins to face Frankie Rutigliano, who was 0-for-4 at the time.
Looking for a measure of redemption, Rutigliano dropped a perfect bunt to the left side that Hillsboro’s fifth relief pitcher pulled away to let third baseman Dakota Chun make the play. The moment of hesitation was enough to set off the pace of the rushing throw, which veered off first base as Rutigliano raced to the bag.
Horsley easily galloped to third base on the play, but when he saw the Hillsboro first baseman have to leave his feet to catch the wide throw, the North Medford product aggressively moved home and scored the run winner when the relay throw was lower than expected. catcher
“It was a perfect touch by Frankie,” Mayben said, “and Aiden did a good job of being in his head and looking at the throw and then making a play.”
The win automatically advanced Medford (35-7) to Wednesday’s championship round as the only remaining undefeated team. The Mustangs can force a need-two win over Southern Oregon on Wednesday in the double-elimination format with another win at 6 p.m. Tuesday against the Sherwood Lobos.
In earlier elimination games on Monday, Sherwood won 8-6 over the Salem Withnell Dodgers and the Roseburg Dr. Stewart earned a 5-4 win over the Emerald Challengers of Eugene/Springfield.
The Barbers (32-9-1) and Roseburg will meet on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in an elimination game.
A night after Mustangs teammate Cody Borraggine was perfect on the mound through 16 batters, Cameron Sewell was just as effective early Monday in recording the first 12 outs. The South Medford product finished 6 1/3 innings, striking out four with two walks and five hits allowed. Of the five races against him, only three were won.
It was relief pitcher Beau Aldrich of St. Mary’s who ended up securing the pitching win, allowing one run over 4 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk.
“Beau did great; Beau was on his game,” Mayben said. “Everything he was throwing he had under control and he was mixing it up really well. Jeremiah Robbins really did a phenomenal job behind the plate of calling the game. Working with Cam and working with Beau, he kept those kids off balance.”
“Obviously, I wasn’t expecting an 11-inning game,” he added, “I was expecting maybe 30-40 pitches to clean up the seventh, but Beau extended it and did a great job.”
Barbers left-handed starter Nelson Keljo provided a formidable obstacle as the top-rated high school prospect in Oregon, but the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Oregon State commit also didn’t factor into the decision, either which Hillsboro chose to use methodically. their pitchers to create options for Tuesday and possibly Wednesday.
Four days after allowing four runs on six hits for the Corvallis Knights in a West Coast League game against the Cowlitz Black Bears, Keljo was able to escape a first-inning jam when left fielder Joe Brauckmiller recorded a flyout and then blasted home for a goal. bottom-of-the-inning doubleheader against a hopeful Borraggine.
The Mustangs pressed again in the second inning against Keljo, with Jace Miller, Horsley and Robbins reaching base to set up a bases-loaded situation. After a fielder’s choice play kept the score clean, Kaleb Long drove in the game’s first run with another fielder’s choice at third base before Keljo was able to minimize the damage with a punch
Medford doubled its lead with a run in the fourth inning, taking advantage of a pair of Hillsboro errors to see Miller home.
The fifth and sixth innings provided back-and-forth fireworks, with each team trading a run.
In Medford’s half of the fifth, Sewell singled and advanced to second on a throwing error on the play. Tanner Douglas followed with an RBI single. In the sixth, Johnny King drew a walk with two out, moved to second on Borraggine’s single and pushed the Mustangs to 4-2 when he scored on Sewell’s single.
Sewell quickly recorded the first out of the seventh, but two singles allowed the Barbers to put runners on the corners. A back liner that eluded Miller at third base brought home a run to cut Medford’s lead to 4-3 and ended Sewell’s night on the mound.
Aldrich’s night began with a grounder to the right side that got past Douglas at first base and allowed the tying run to score, and a subsequent sacrifice fly gave the Barbers their first lead of the game with a 5-4 before Aldrich left the inning. .
Miller didn’t let Hillsboro get too comfortable, however, as the South Medford standout blasted a game-tying home run over the left-field fence to open the bottom of the seventh and keep his team’s hopes alive .
“They had all the momentum right there and to lead off the bottom of the seventh like that was huge,” Mayben said. “And that’s a tough park to hit the ball in as it is.”
Medford stranded a pair of runners in the eighth and ninth innings before finally breaking with its back to the wall in the 11th.
Miller and Horsley finished 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI, while Borraggine, Sewell and Douglas each added two hits.
Hillsboro Barbers000011 30001—694
Medford Mustangs010111 10002—7132
Keljo, Hergert (4), Price (5), Harbaugh (6), Werner (8), Smith (11) and Murphy; Sewell, Aldrich (7) and Robbins. W – Aldrich. L – Smith. 2B — M: Douglas. 3B — H: Gustafson. HR – M: Miller.
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Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford Mustangs pitcher Beau Aldrich, shown in action last week, got the win in relief with a strong showing on Monday.