Ashland's 11-12 Little League all-star baseball team used a last-gasp rally to score three runs in the sixth inning then held on - barely - for an 8-7 victory over Klamath Falls Nationals in the District 6 semifinals Tuesday in Medford.
Ashland's 11-12 Little League all-star baseball team used a last-gasp rally to score three runs in the sixth inning then held on — barely — for an 8-7 victory over Klamath Falls Nationals in the District 6 semifinals Tuesday in Medford.
Bryce Rogan and Eric Carlson came through with RBI singles in the final inning and Carlson struck out a KFN batter with the go-ahead run at second base to clinch the victory for Ashland, which advances to the championship round against undefeated Klamath Falls Americans.
Ashland must beat Klamath Falls Americans tonight and again Thursday in order to claim the district title and advance to the state tournament. Ashland Little League last won a district title in 2006.
"It was really, 'Relax, have fun and just play how you always play,'" manager Mike Rogan said of his talk prior to the sixth inning.
James Whelan started on the mound for Ashland and recorded seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
At the plate, Ashland was led by Bryce Rogan (3-for-4, two RBIs), Carlson (2-for-4, two RBIs) and Sean Adams (1-for-3, home run). Chase Ganim and Collin Malcom each went 1-for-2 with a double.
Ashland used clutch hitting and heads up base-running to overcome a 6-5 deficit in its final at-bats. Malcom started the inning with a double, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Rogan's infield single. Adams then scored on a passed ball, sliding under the tag at home to give Ashland the lead. Carlson followed with a single that scored Rogan.
Klamath Falls nearly tied the game in the bottom of the inning when Joey Lencaster belted a double high off the wall with a runner at first. A passed ball, a walk and a stolen base put runners at second and third with two outs. Carlson then struck out the next batter, battling back from a 3-0 hole before clinching the game with a called third strike.
Tonight's game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Medford American Fields behind Dairy Queen.
Carlson will make his second start of the tournament for Ashland after shutting down Klamath Falls Nationals in a second round game.
"I think we have a great shot," Mike Rogan said. "These guys are playing great baseball."
Sports editor Joe Zavala can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or firstname.lastname@example.org