Eugene snaps Medford’s run at state match with 6-2 win in title recreation
ROSEBURG — For the higher a part of the previous decade, the Medford Mustangs have been those posing with the banner that claims they’re the state champions.
However on Wednesday, the Mustangs discovered themselves in an unfamiliar place after the ultimate out was recorded on the American Legion AAA state match: Runner-up.
After beating the Hillsboro Barbers 3-1 behind Cody Borraggine’s five-hit gem to succeed in one more state title recreation, the Mustangs couldn’t replicate their late-inning stronghold from a number of hours earlier in opposition to the Eugene Challengers.
In what proved to be a decisive fifth inning, Eugene’s offense got here alive in a rush, scoring 5 runs to flip the script and declare a 6-2 victory at Legion Subject to finish Medford’s run of six consecutive state titles that dates again to 2014.
Final yr’s state match was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m simply happy with them. ‘That’s life’ is what I informed them, and typically life hits you and the way you deal with that’s what makes you who you’re,” Mustangs supervisor Nate Mayben mentioned. “It is a nice group of men. They’ve grinded all summer season, and I couldn’t have requested for our guys to work more durable, do extra, sacrifice extra. These guys quit rather a lot — they don’t get alternatives to go tenting or go on household holidays. They sacrifice for it, however they get this expertise in return.”
The winner-take-all matchup Wednesday afternoon was because of no staff operating the desk on the state match, an indication of simply how aggressive the highest groups have been over the course of the final week.
After beating Roseburg Dr. Stewart’s 6-5 in 12 innings Tuesday, the Mustangs (45-14) knew they wanted at the least 14 extra innings of stable baseball to proceed their streak of state championships.
Via the primary 4 ½ innings of Wednesday’s deciding recreation, that was the case.
Then the underside of the fifth inning occurred.
With Medford holding a 2-1 lead, Eugene (46-12) strung collectively 5 straight hits to all of the sudden go forward 5-2. Kayden Sandow and Dane Woodcook hit back-to-back doubles to tie it at 2-all, then Dylan Carson singled to place runners on the corners and knock Medford beginning pitcher Gavin Schmidt out of the sport.
Eugene second baseman Dylan Irwin greeted Medford reduction pitcher AJ Balsiger in robust vogue, hitting a two-run triple to left on the primary pitch he noticed to place the Challengers forward 4-2.
Cooper Mullens and Callan Vreim added RBI singles to cap the large inning for Eugene, which completed runner-up to Medford for the Space 4 championship.
“You gotta tip your cap to them,” Mayben mentioned. “They’d 4 or 5 hits there with possibly one out in between. They have been hitting the gaps, hitting the strains they usually did a great job. There’s nothing we might have carried out in a different way, I feel. We took care of the baseball, we didn’t make errors, however they got here alive in that fifth inning and that’s what it took.”
Via the primary 4 innings, the Challengers had all of 5 hits.
Within the fifth inning alone, Eugene recorded seven hits.
“It was a little bit robust (to see), but it surely occurs to each staff,” Mustangs second baseman Eli Westrick mentioned. “We’ve had our moments within the match the place we’ve come alive like that, and the Challengers are a great hitting staff and should you give them something, they’re going to take it a great distance. Letting them get forward in counts after which strolling individuals, they take each benefit.”
Mayben admitted fatigue positively obtained to Schmidt, who was throwing effectively by way of the primary 4 innings on a sizzling day in Roseburg. Schmidt allowed eight hits and 4 runs with six strikeouts in four-plus innings of labor.
“He was drained; that’s an extended day trip right here,” Mayben mentioned. “He threw plenty of pitches on Day 1, however he did a heck of a job battling. He needed to get himself ready to pitch (in reduction) within the first recreation at this time, too, so he spent plenty of time on the mound. I’m happy with his effort and simply what he did on the mound. He did an awesome job.”
The Mustangs gave Schmidt two early runs to work with as they took benefit of early management points from Challengers beginning pitcher Isaac Evaniew.
Westrick lined a two-out RBI single up the center to attain leadoff man Cody Borraggine, who walked to open the sport.
The Mustangs doubled their lead an inning later when Borraggine hit an RBI single to left-center.
Eugene, nevertheless, lower it to 2-1 moments in a while Jaxson Fraser’s RBI double to proper.
All the Challengers’ prime 4 hitters — Fraser, Sandow, Woodcook and Carson — completed with two-hit video games.
“Clearly, that fifth inning units you again a little bit bit, however we had confidence the entire recreation,” Mayben mentioned. “We’ve carried out plenty of injury on the plate this yr, so I don’t suppose we thought it was over till it was over. Getting off to that begin in opposition to a great pitcher that (Eugene) had on the mound, that gave us some hope and we have been attempting to trip that for a short time. However, clearly, it didn’t work out.”
Evaniew discovered his command after his early struggles and was capable of work each his fastball and his breaking ball in for strikes on a constant foundation.
Evaniew recorded seven of his eight strikeouts between the third and sixth innings. He restricted the Mustangs to simply 5 hits, with solely two of these coming after the second inning.
“We have been just below the sensation that we would have liked to place up some extra runs,” Westrick mentioned. “(Evaniew) was throwing rather well and he threw a great recreation. It was robust, however I felt like we put collectively good at-bats and had some good swings, and that’s actually all you’ll be able to ask for from these guys.”
To get to the title recreation, the Mustangs needed to win the day’s first elimination recreation.
And from the get-go, Borraggine was on level, permitting simply three baserunners to make it into scoring place.
Needing simply 77 pitches to get by way of his second complete-game effort of the tourney, Borraggine pounded the strike zone. The left-hander from North Medford didn’t throw a first-pitch strike to simply two of the 26 batters he confronted within the recreation.
“All season I’ve struggled getting forward within the rely, so at this time I simply went on the market (with a mindset of), ‘In the event that they hit a first-pitch change-up or fastball, then so be it.’ I’d moderately get forward then quit a stroll or two,” Borraggine mentioned.
Medford tied the sport at 1-1 within the second inning on Jeremiah Robbins’ RBI single to proper. Three innings later, Jace Miller broke the impasse when he scored on a wild pitch.
Aiden Horsley supplied an insurance coverage run within the prime of the seventh with an infield single, then turned it over to Borraggine to shut the door.
That’s precisely what he did, recording his third strikeout of the sport for the ultimate out.
“Simply throwing strikes with all 4 pitches,” Mayben mentioned in regard to why Borraggine was so environment friendly in opposition to the Barbers. “He did an awesome job of simply placing the ball over the plate and preserving them off-balance inside and outdoors. He had his breaking ball working, his changeup working, and he would get his fastball in there when he wanted to.”
However whereas the Mustangs have been capable of maintain onto their late lead Wednesday morning, the identical couldn’t be mentioned in regards to the recreation later within the afternoon.
And with it spelled the tip of their run of state titles, which made the loss simply that a lot more durable.
Requested what he’ll bear in mind most about this group, Mayben didn’t hesitate along with his reply.
“The recollections,” Mayben mentioned. “These guys, we spend a lot time collectively. I imply, on daily basis we’re collectively, and never one time did these guys do something that will be disrespectful to opponents or groups or us or simply our group. They represented Medford they usually represented the excessive faculties they arrive from very effectively.”
J. Koons and Bickfacko; Borraggine and Robbins. W — Borraggine (6-4). L — J. Koons. 2B — H: White; M: Miller. 3B — H: Murphy.
Schmidt, Balsiger (5) and Robbins; Evaniew and Woodcook. W — Evaniew. L — Schmidt (7-2). 2B — E: Sandow, Woodcook. 3B — E: Irwin.
Attain Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Observe him on Twitter @penzatopaper.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneThe Medford Musatngs’ Jeremiah Robbins, seen right here in a file picture, had an RBI in Wednesday’s elimination recreation win over the Hillsboro Barbers. The Mustangs later fell to the Eugene Challengers within the American League AAA state title recreation.