No one — not even the Herald and News — could keep the Medford Mustangs from capturing yet another American Legion AAA State Tournament title.
The Mustangs did it the hard way, winning two elimination games in the super regionals, then won four of five games in the state tournament, capping it off with a 5-4 win over the Eugene Challengers Wednesday at Kiger Stadium.
It’s the sixth straight title for the Mustangs.
Medford came out bats a blazin’ in the first inning. The Mustangs tagged the Challengers’ — who eliminated the Dallas Dirtbags 3-2 earlier in the day to advance to the title game — pitcher, Cam Parks for six hits and three runs in the opening frame.
Darin and Dylan Marsh both mashed doubled and scored in the first.
Two more runs would come across for the Mustangs in the third inning. Zac Ankeny singled to start the inning and would come around to score on a Taven Passey double. Three batters later, Chase Costani’s single would score Passey to extend the lead to 5-0.
It was smooth sailing for Medord’s pitcher Bennett Thompson — the pitcher that the Falcons faced in their opening game of the tournament — allowed one run through the first six innings. He went the distance, striking out four, allowing eight hits and three earned runs on 99 pitches.
He didn’t run into trouble until the seventh inning.
Down four and down to their final three outs, the Challengers mounted a comeback. A single by Conner Jones, then a double by Cole Wilkinson followed by Isaiah Lugo loaded the bases with one out.
Consecutive singles by Kellar Edwards and CJ Townsend brought the score to 5-4. The Challengers were threatening to tie the game with runners on the corners with only one out.
The next batter popped up into a double play, Chase Costanti caught the ball and fired the ball to first to get throw out Townsend trying to get back to fist.
Game over. Championship won.
The Mustangs will play in the American Legion Baseball Northwest Regional Tournament in Lewiston, ID, beginning Aug. 7.
Editor’s note: The Herald and News made an error Legion Baseball story in the Wednesday, July 31 edition. We mistakenly said that the Mustangs were eliminated from the tournament, which is, indeed, false. We regret the error.