The Medford Mustangs took another step toward winning their record fifth straight American Legion AAA state baseball title with a dominating performance on Sunday at Bill Gray Stadium at Legion Field.
Joe Johnson pitched a three-hitter, and the Mustangs played errorless ball and stroked 10 hits in a 12-0 victory in six innings over the Mid-Valley Southpaws of Albany in the state tournament.
The game ended after six innings due to the 10-run rule. Medford improved to 2-0 in the double-elimination tournament.
“That’s six in a row now (at Legion Field) we’ve won (four coming over Dr. Stewart’s in the regular season),” said Medford coach Nate Mayben.
“(Sunday) was good. We weren’t expecting to do that against that ball club. Mid-Valley is a good club, but we came out in the second inning and put some runs on the board.
“Our pitching has been phenomenal all year. When we get up like that, we have confidence we can do a lot of different things offensively.”
Johnson, a left-hander out of St. Mary’s High School who recently completed his first season at Vanguard University, improved to 8-1 on the season. He also got the decision in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Beaverton, throwing 25 pitches in relief.
Johnson finished with 96 pitches Sunday, striking out 10 with no walks and two hit batters. He only got in trouble in the fifth inning when he beaned two and gave up a single with two outs to load the bases, but fanned leadoff hitter Brendan Bliss to snuff the rally.
“I always expect to come out, work hard and throw my best,” said Johnson. “I’ve been pretty good at limiting runs. I wasn’t really focused on a shutout, but just keeping them behind us. As soon as we get a couple of runs, I feel a lot better.
“I didn’t feel my best, but everyone was helping me get rested in the dugout between innings. My fastball velocity wasn’t there, so I relied a lot on my changeup.”
The Southpaws only managed three singles, two by Cade Perrizo.
“We got beat in every aspect of that game,” said Mid-Valley coach Troy Babbitt. “Got beat on the mound, offensively and the bases. There’s not a lot you can do against that team if that’s the situation. (Joe Johnson) had great tempo, he controlled the game from the first to the last inning.”
Justin Geyer was 3-for-3 with a double, three runs and three RBIs for the Mustangs. Jacob Melton went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and three runs, while Jack Thompson had two hits in three at-bats and scored three times.
Medford scored four runs to take a 6-0 lead in the third inning. Geyer had an RBI double, Jonathan Gassman chipped in an RBI single and Bennett Thompson contributed a sacrifice fly.
The Mustangs pushed over five runs in the sixth, capitalizing on two hits and five walks.
Kevin Crowell took the loss for the Southpaws, allowing eight hits and seven earned runs over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two. Mid-Valley used three other pitchers.
Medford 024 105 — 12 10 0
MidValley 000 000 — 0 3 0
Johnson and B. Thompson, Marsh (6); Crowell, Efraimson (4), Lopez (6), Hartsell (6) and Cyrus. WP — Johnson. LP — Crowell. 2B — Geyer (M), Melton 2 (M).
Hitting — Med. 10-27 (Johnson 0-1, Watts 1-4, Melton 2-3, J. Thompson 2-3, Geyer 3-3, Gassman 1-2, Baptiste 0-3, Ankeny 1-4, B. Thompson 0-3, Marsh 0-1), M.V. 3-20 (Bliss 0-3, Perrizo 2-3, Holder 0-1, Johnson 0-2, Rappe 0-3, Cyrus 0-2, Crowell 0-1, Efraimson 0-1, Hartsell 0-1, Beach 1-2, Lien 0-1). RBIs — Med. 10 (J. Thompson, Geyer 3, Gassman, Baptiste 2, B. Thompson), M.V. 0.