There's a reason why Jordan Lewis owns most of the pitching records for the Medford Mustangs, and he showed just why Thursday night at Harry & David Field.
MEDFORD — There's a reason why Jordan Lewis owns most of the pitching records for the Medford Mustangs, and he showed just why Thursday night at Harry & David Field.
Getting the call for Medford in its opening game of the American Legion AAA Northwest Regionals, Lewis was almost unhittable in leading the Mustangs to a 6-1 victory over the Lewis-Clark Twins of Lewiston, Idaho.
The 19-year-old left-hander struck out a career-high 15 and ran his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 28 in an awesome display of marksmanship on the mound. Despite an unseasonably cool night, Lewis snapped off one knee-buckling curveball after another and spotted up his fastball to keep the Twins off balance through seven scoreless innings.
He struck out 9 of 11 batters during a span between the second and fifth innings and retired 14 in a row at one point, finishing with three hits allowed and three walks. His record as a Mustang now stands at a program-best 42-4.
Buoyed by Lewis' effort, the Mustangs (41-10) advance to face Charter Cove of Covina, Calif., in the winner's bracket around 7 tonight. Charter Cove rallied in the ninth inning to upend Lakeside Recovery (Wash.) 7-6 in other first-day action Thursday.
Lewis-Clark (35-19) drops to the loser's bracket and will play Lakeside Recovery around 12:30 p.m. today in an elimination contest.
Also Thursday, the South Anchorage Wolverines of Alaska edged Cheyenne (Wyo.) 5-4 and the Billings Scarlets (Mont.) toppled Corvallis Richey's Market 10-7.
Lewis escaped his only real jam in the top of the seventh thanks to a pair of strikeouts and a fine defensive play by second baseman Chris Bradshaw.
His string of 14 straight batters retired was snapped by a leadoff walk to Dusty Kerns and, sandwiched between two strikeouts, Johnny Rake punched a single to right field. Zach Holley then reached safely on a swinging bunt when he beat out the throw to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Doug Adelsbach then smacked a hard grounder up the middle that Bradshaw backhanded and relayed to shortstop Zack Earle to end the inning.
Great defense appeared to be the theme of the game early after the respective shortstops from each team denied potential threats in the first inning. Earle backhanded a grounder in the hole and threw out Kyle Knigge at first, while Lewis-Clark's Kasey Knigge had a similar effort, diving to his right before getting a force out at second base.
Matt Maurer opened the scoring in the bottom of the second when his towering fly ball sailed over the head of left fielder Holley for a two-run double. Griffin Boyd previously reached base after being hit by a pitch and Ian Kendall singled to right-center field.
A leadoff double down the right-field line by Max Gordon and a bunt single by Bradshaw put Medford in contention for a big inning in the second. Earle followed with an RBI single to left field following a wild pitch by Twins starter Brett Watson, but the left-hander escaped any further damage by getting Boyd to line out to right field ahead of two strikeouts.
In the bottom of the fifth, Earle walked and stole second before Tygerson drew a two-out walk. Kendall followed with an RBI single to left field for a 4-0 lead.
A walk to Boyd and wild pitch put another runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, and Tygerson came through with an RBI double just over the outreached glove of third baseman Kyle Knigge for a 5-0 lead.
Gordon added an RBI triple in the eighth off reliever Johnny Rake to plate Colin Sowers and cap the scoring for the Mustangs. Lewis-Clark scored its lone run in the top of the ninth against reliever Bradey Shipley on a one-out double by Kyle Knigge and RBI single by Rake.
Gordon and Kendall each finished 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI to pace the Mustangs, while Rake was 2-for-4 for the Twins.
Of Medford's nine hits, five went for extra bases. The Mustangs got doubles from Maurer, Gordon, Sowers and Tygerson and a triple by Gordon.