MEDFORD — The Roseburg High baseball team outlasted the South Medford Panthers in the nightcap of a Southwest Conference doubleheader on Saturday to stay undefeated in league games and in a tie with South Eugene for first place.
Roseburg (8-3, 5-0 SWC) didn’t take a lead in Game 2 until a four-run seventh inning and held off the Panthers for a 7-5 victory. RHS won the opening game 5-1 behind a complete game from senior pitcher Zack Mandera.
After a lockdown performance in the opener, Roseburg came out sluggish in Game 2 and fell behind South Medford 3-0 through four innings.
“We kind of started out a little slow,” said Mandera. “I just told the guys it’s too close of a game to be down.”
Roseburg didn’t get a hit until the third inning and left runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings. South Medford starter Rickey Boortz kept RHS’ hitters off balance and at one point retired eight straight batters.
“Game 2 on a Saturday is a tough ballgame in our league,” Roseburg coach Troy Thompson said. “For us to come out as sluggish as we were in Game 2 and have enough energy there in the middle innings to get back in it and ultimately win it was a great sign.”
Roseburg’s comeback started in the fifth. Luke Van Norman led off with a double and later scored to make it a 3-1 deficit on a single by Caden Johnson. Doran Gillespie followed Johnson with his first home run of the season to tie the game.
“That got our energy going really good,” Gillespie said.
South Medford (5-8, 1-4 SWC) responded with runs in the fifth and sixth innings on hits by Bennett Thompson and Trevor Marthowski, respectively.
Trailing 5-3 in the top of the seventh, Roseburg started the final frame with a single by Jett Black. Jace Stoffal drew a walk and the Panthers committed an error on a sacrifice bunt by Mason Littlefield that scored a run and left runners at second and third.
The Indians added two runs to take a 6-5 advantage on a double by Trevor Muir that glanced off the glove of a diving Gio Bottero in center field. Roseburg tacked on its last run on South Medford’s second throwing error of the inning.
Garrett Zeimet entered the game in the seventh and earned his first save of the year by striking out Blake Shields after walking two batters to put the tying run on base.
Mandera improved to 3-1 on the year with a complete game performance in Game 1. The right-hander allowed six hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
Roseburg jumped on the Panthers with three runs in the first inning and another in the second to lead 4-0. The Indians made it 5-0 before South managed to crack the goose-egg on the scoreboard.
Johnson and Gillespie each went 4-for-7 in the series for Roseburg and Black and Stoffal each finished 3-for-6 and South Medford. Gillespie recorded four RBIs in the twin bill.
Bennett Thompson went 5-for-7 to lead South Medford’s offense.
Roseburg will next host South Eugene on Tuesday for a showdown between the two unbeaten teams in the Southwest Conference. The Indians and Axe were both voted as the favorites to win the conference title in a preseason poll of the SWC coaches.
Roseburg 310 100 0 — 5 10 0
S. Medford 000 100 0 — 1 6 0
Mandera and Six; Shields, Lauchstedt (2), Campbell (6) and Thompson. WP — Mandera, 3-1. LP — Shields, 1-3. 2B — Johnson (R), Gillespie (R), Black (R), Thompson (SM), Ledendecker (SM). 3B — Gillespie (R).
Roseburg 000 030 4 — 7 8 2
S. Medford 200 111 0 — 5 9 2
Stoffal, Black (6), Zeimet (7) and Six; Boortz, Ledendecker (5), Costanti (7) and Thompson. WP — Black, 1-1. LP — Costanti, 0-2. 2B — Van Norman (R), Muir (R), Marthowski (SM), Thompson (SM).