The Medford Mustangs survived again.
FARGO, N.D. — The Medford Mustangs survived again.
Medford staved off elimination for a third consecutive day Monday at the American Legion AAA World Series and will play today for the national championship.
Ashland High graduate Garrett Tygerson drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a dramatic comeback, as the Mustangs overcame a one-run deficit in their final ups to stun Texarkana, Texas, 7-6, in a loser-out game at Newman Outdoor Field.
"We get to stay for another day," Medford coach Sandee Kensinger said. "We're on a mission. We have a tough road, but our kids are believing and they are pretty loose. We want a shot at it, we really do. We're not going to have this kind of crew come to Medford in a while. This is a seasoned club."
Medford (47-11) plays at 11 a.m. Pacific time today against Midland, Mich., the only team yet to lose in the World Series. Midland downed Rowan County, N.C., 15-14 Monday evening.
The Mustangs, who lost their opener to Midland, 4-2, must beat the Michigan team twice to claim the title.
Medford last played in the World Series championship round in 1997.
Since losing to Midland, Medford has won three games in a row.
"We kind of have a joke," said Tygerson, who was 3-for-5 at the plate. "We escaped elimination. We say that every day since we lost the first game. We've escaped three days in a row with three wins. I feel like we're hitting our stride perfect."
Kensinger said he will send staff ace Jordan Lewis (12-1) to the mound in today's first game.
If the Mustangs play a second game, which would be at 5 p.m. Pacific, Neil Emerson would likely get the start.
"I think we'll have our two guys ready to go," Kensinger said.
Medford trailed 6-5 with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning when Chris Bradshaw, who reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to second base on a passed ball. Zack Earle then hit a grounder to shortstop, but Caleb Dudley threw the ball away trying to get Earle at first base. Bradshaw scored to tie the game while Earle advanced to second. Earle then advanced to third on Griffin Boyd's deep fly ball to right, setting up Tygerson's heroics.
Facing a 1-2 count, Tygerson slapped a tough outside pitch down the right-field line. Texarkana outfielder Logan Ashby dove for the ball and nearly hauled it in, but the force of hitting the ground jarred the ball loose, allowing Earle to score the winning run.
"He's all out on that play right there," Texarkana coach Tom Wacha said. "If he comes up with it, I wouldn't have even been surprised. That's the kind of effort that kid gives all the time."
Tygerson thought Ashby caught the ball for a split second.
"When he caught it in the air I was like 'Oh, man, we got to play another inning,'" Tygerson said. "But when he rolled and it fell, it was the greatest feeling. He dropped it, we got the run in and we won."
Tygerson was mobbed by his teammates after he rounded first base and the winning run had scored.
"Baseball is a funny game," Kensinger said. "You never know. That's a good club. They battled the whole time."
Texarkana built a 5-2 lead through the top of the fourth inning.
Dylan Bedortha started on the mound for Medford and went 2 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits and four runs, of which three were earned.
But, Medford right-hander Bradey Shipley kept the Mustangs close, pitching 6 1/3 solid innings in relief. Shipley allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits.
"We hung in there and Bradey did a great job keeping us in the ballgame," Kensinger said.
"We live another day," Tygerson added.
The Mustangs scored twice in the sixth to tie it at 5. Lewis Sebrell's two-run single to right scored Matt Maurer and Isaac Rolie, who each had singled.
Sebrell, another AHS grad, was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Rolie was 3-for-4 and scored twice.
Medford scored single runs in the first, second and fourth innings.
In the first, Bradshaw reached on a bunt single and scored on Boyd's double down the left-field line.
In the second, Ian Kendall scored after walking and going to third on Rolie's double. He came in on an infield single by Max Gordon, who was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Gordon also came through with a leadoff single in the ninth.
In the fourth, Rolie doubled to left, Sebrell singled and Gordon hit an RBI single.