ANCHORAGE, Alaska &
One big inning was enough for Montana.
The Mariners stunned Ashland by scoring eight runs in the sixth inning to break out of what was a nip-and-tuck game in the first-round of the American Legion A Northwest Regional tournament Friday at Mulcahy Stadium.
The six-hit spurt gave the defending Northwest champions a 10-7 win and forces the Pilots (35-11), the Oregon state champions, into the loser-out portion of the eight-team bracket. Ashland faces Fairbanks Blue of Alaska, which fell 9-3 to Utah in another first-round game, Saturday morning.
"We played well, but once they got that roll going we couldn't stop it," Ashland manager Dave Sebrell said. "We just played a good team. But we didn't give it to them &
they took it."
Ashland scored the first two runs of the game in the second and third innings and led 2-1 heading into the sixth. There, the Pilots squandered an opportunity to increase their lead when Luke Jannusch was tagged out at home while trying to score from third on a Danny Meza fly ball.
Utah rode that momentum into the bottom of the inning, when doubles by Beau Nordberg and Cubby Pierre plus Brandon Thompson's two-run single highlighted what turned out to be a game-clinching explosion.
The Pilots fought back by scoring three runs in the seventh and two more in the ninth before bowing out. They stranded 11 runners.
Thompson led the Mariners on both offense and defense. He had a homer and a single at the plate, which helped support his 145-pitch, complete-game effort on the mound. He finished with 10 strikeouts.
For Ashland, Sam Gaviglio went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs, Owen Baldrica went 3-for-5 with one RBI and Meza added a double and another RBI.
Ashland starting pitcher Charlie Sebrell (6-3) struck out five and walked two before being relieved by Luke Stone in the sixth. Tyler Killeen also saw some action on the mound.
"You know, in high school we were in the same (loser-out) positions and we made the playoffs and in the Legion regular season we had to win out, too," Dave Sebrell said. "Unfortunately, we get ourselves in these spots and then we respond. I anticipate that we're really going to come out and play well (on Saturday)."
Ashland011000302""7 13 3
Montana00010810x""10 11 3
C. Sebrell, Stone (6), Killeen (8) and L. Sebrell; Thompson and Rausch. W &
Thompson. L &
C. Sebrell (6-3).
M: Nordberg, Pierre; A: Gaviglio 2, Meza, Jannusch. HR &
Ashland High will open its 2007 season by hosting the six-team Grizzly Endowment Tournament, Friday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
Best-of-three-game pool play matches begin at 8 a.m. and bracket play starts at — p.m.
The Grizzlies' season opener will be against Cascade Christian, a Class 3A school from Medford. Also participating in the tournament will be Brookings, Crater, St. Mary's and South Medford.
Sports editor Joe Zavala can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.
Pilots shot down by Montana in first round of regionals
ANCHORAGE, Alaska &