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  • Medford Mustangs take down Dirtbags in state opener

    Medford blasts five doubles in 7-4 win, to play Portland next
  • GRANTS PASS — The Medford Mustangs opened the 2014 American Legion AAA state tournament with a well-rounded effort against the Salem DeMarini Dirtbags on Wednesday at Agnew-Lytle Field.
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  • GRANTS PASS — The Medford Mustangs opened the 2014 American Legion AAA state tournament with a well-rounded effort against the Salem DeMarini Dirtbags on Wednesday at Agnew-Lytle Field.
    Medford supported a strong start from Colton Westfall with early offense to defeat Salem 7-4 and advance to the second round of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.
    "It's kind of a cliche, but you have to take it one game at a time," said Medford coach Nate Mayben, whose team has won eight in a row and 12 of its last 14. "I've been through a few of these tournaments now and I've seen them won a lot of different ways. But obviously, getting that first win is nice. You can set up your pitching the way you want to and it's just a good confidence-booster."
    Westfall, a junior from North Medford High, went 7ÿ2D3 innings giving up four runs, all earned, on seven hits and struck out six. He surrendered two early runs and was charged with two more after he departed, but the righty established himself in the middle innings, holding Salem scoreless in the third through seventh innings to keep the Mustangs' lead intact.
    "He just did a good job locating his fastball," Mayben said of Westfall, who improved to 6-2. "I don't think he necessarily had his best stuff today, but he was good enough."
    Taylor Raff did much of the damage at the plate early on with an two-run double in the second and an RBI single in the fourth. Raff's single was part of a four-run fourth that gave Medford (28-13), playing its first game since July 19, all the cushion it needed against the Dirtbags.
    Micah Brown added two RBI singles for Medford, while Christian Gillis went 3-for-4 with three doubles and a run scored as the Mustangs avenged a sweep suffered at the hands of Salem July 12 in Medford.
    "To come out after having that (10-day) layoff that we had and to score in the first inning really takes a lot of pressure off you, and to get two more in the third — that's probably the most important thing that we could have done today," Mayben said.
    Spencer DesBiens went 2-for-3 with two RBIs for the Dirtbags in the loss.
    Medford advances in the winner's bracket to play the Portland Eastside Barbers today at 4 p.m., while the Dirtbags play Roseburg in one of today's elimination games at 12:30 p.m. Portland (40-5) scored two runs in the top of the ninth to beat Roseburg 6-4.
    The Eastside Barbers handed Medford a season-ending loss at at the 2013 state tournament, played in Medford. Mayben saw the Barbers edge Roseburg Wednesday and expects a stiff challenge today.
    "They're a very talented group," he said. "They look like a very athletic team. They had a 39-5 record before (Wednesday) so they've got some guys that can play. We just gotta do what we did today and try to get ahead early and play good baseball for nine innings."
    In other first-round games Wednesday, the Eugene Challengers beat the Salem Withnell Dodgers 11-5, and the host Grants Pass Nuggets played the Corvallis Gerding Builders but the result was unavailable at press time.
    Medford 120 400 000 — 7 10 0
    Salem 020 000 020 — 4 9 0
    Wesfall, Coggins (8) and Zavala; Mattison, Rech (5), Nelson (9) and Rediger. W — Westfall (6-2). L — Mattison. 2B — M: Gillis 3, Raff, Berman; S: J. Peterson.
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