The final outcome of Saturday’s game between the Klamath Falls Falcons and the Medford Mustangs can be summarized by two stats:
The Mustangs scored seven runs, The Klamath Falls pitching staff walked seven Mustang batters.
“Ball four for us, timely hitting for them,” said head coach Pete Whisler. “They didn’t come out scorching the ball, we didn’t make the game hard enough for them tonight, it was too easy for them.”
The Falcons dropped the first game of the AAA American Legion State Tournament, falling to the Medford Mustangs 7-1.
It was a pitchers duel in the early stages of the game. Medford’s Bennett Thompson and Klamath Falls’ Bailey Whitlcok worked through the first two innings without allowing a run. The two right-handers struck out a combined six batters in that span.
Due to some aggressive baserunning by the Mustangs, the scoreless game ended in the third inning.
A single by Darin Marsh got the Mustangs moving, but it was a hit and run that swung the game in Medford’s favor. Marsh, who was running on the pitch, pulled Jagger Graham from his spot at second base to cover the bag on the steal attempt, the ball that Thompson hit would had been an easy catch for Graham had he not been covering second.
Instead of a having two outs and a runner on first, the Mustangs had runners on second and third with one out. The next batter, Evan McLennan drove home the first run in and RBI ground out.
“They created that by running,” Whisler said. “They executed, give them credit. They have fairly decent team speed.”
The scoring for the Mustangs wouldn’t stop.
Medford opened the game open up with four runs in the fourth inning. Taven Passey jump-started the Medford offense with a one-out double off the right-field fence. Bennett Smith drove Passey home with a single to right. Chase Constanti reached on an infield single. Two walks from Whitlock gave the Mustangs their third run.
Scott Lewis entered the game for Whitlock with the bases loaded and got the ground ball that he needed to get out of the inning. Only, the ball took a tricky hop and got past second basemen, Jagger Graham. Two runs scored and the Falcons took a 5-0 lead.
The Falcons fought back in their half of the fourth inning. After getting only one hit through the first three innings, Blake Loney, Garrett Campbell and Jagger Graham all singled. Graham’s single drove home Loney to get the Falcons on the board.
While the Falcons were outhit by the Mustangs by only three hits, Medford came up with the base knock when runners were on base, which the Falcons couldn’t do.
Thompson kept the batters off balance by mixing speed. The Medford started went five 2/3 innings, striking out six and giving up six hits with a single earned run.
“He had us chasing breaking balls that weren’t even close,” Whisler said. “We were overmatched with the breaking ball.”
The Mustangs would extend the lead with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Medford drew two one-out walks, then Dylan Marsh made the Falcons pay with double down the leftfield line that scored Thompson and McLennan.
Despite getting a pair of runners on base in the sixth, the Falcons couldn’t get the hit they needed to drive home runs to extend the game.
The loss sends the Falcons into the loser bracket where they will play Beaverton at 7 p.m.
“If we can throw the ball over the plate, we are going to have a chance,” Whisler said. “If we can throw strikes we are going to have a chance to win.”
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