Mustangs rout Festus, Mo., stay alive in World Series

FARGO, N.D. — While Matt Maurer isn't the staff ace for the Medford Mustangs, the left-hander pitched like one Sunday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

Maurer tossed a two-hit shutout to lift Medford to a 9-0 victory against Festus, Mo., in an elimination game at the American Legion World Series.

Maurer finished with 11 strikeouts and only one walk. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound 17-year-old fanned nine of 11 Festus (40-6) batters at one point, striking out the side in the third and fourth innings.

"That's the best effort I've ever seen him have. Hey, he's certainly capable," Mustangs manager Sandee Kensinger said. "He was around the strike zone. A lot of times he can be really wild where it's not even close."

Since the game was played under the lights, Maurer said his game plan was to use his breaking ball to keep hitters off balance.

"My slider/curveball, I haven't been really throwing it that well lately," Maurer said. "Today in warmups, I definitely focused on it and worked on that because of the lights. It definitely was a good pitch tonight. Under the lights, it's really hard to tell ball rotation."

Medford (47-11) plays at 11 a.m. or 5 p.m. (PST) today, depending on what team wins the Texarkana, Texas, vs. Midland, Mich., undefeated game. The undefeated game is scheduled for 8 a.m. Pacific today, with the winner earning a guaranteed spot in the championship.

The Michigan team edged the Mustangs 4-2 in Friday's opening day of play

"We're fighters," Maurer said. "We've fought all year. We just fight until we're done. We're not done yet."

Kensinger said he hadn't made a decision on who will start today's game.

"We're still around," Kensinger said. "We're happy."

Medford built a 4-0 lead in the third inning. First baseman Garrett Tygerson sparked the rally with a two-run triple to right-center field. Tygerson later scored on an Ian Kendall RBI single, which capped the rally.

The Mustangs added four more runs in the fifth inning. Designated Lewis Sebrell had an RBI single and Max Gordon added a sacrifice fly to fuel the inning. Sebrell scored on a Festus error to stake Medford to an 8-0 lead.

Maurer gave Medford back-to-back shutouts. Staff ace Jordan Lewis tossed a six-hit shutout in Saturday's 5-0 victory against Berlin, Conn. Both shutouts were seven innings as those games were shortened due to of a series of rain delays.

"We've got a bunch of college guys that know how to pitch," Maurer said. "Every time we roll someone out there we have the utmost confidence in each guy."

Tygerson finished 1-for-2 with three runs and two RBIs, while Sebrell was 2-for-3 with one run and two RBIs and Chris Bradshaw 3-for-4 with one run. Kendall went 2-for-5 with one run and one RBI for the Mustangs, who received at least one hit from every starter and had seven different players score at least one run.

Earlier Sunday, Rowan County, N.C., eliminated defending champion Las Vegas with an 8-7, eight-inning victory. The North Carolina squad will face either Texas or Michigan in today's other game.

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