Pilots sweep Central Pt.; Ashland Little Leaguers bounced in D-6 finals

It was a situation Ashland was unfamiliar with, down two runs heading into the final inning.

But the Pilots handled it like old pros, coming through with three straight extra-base hits, including Ethan Schlecht's walk-off double, to beat Central Point 9-8 Wednesday at North Mountain Park.

The momentum carried over as the Pilots rolled to a 13-3, five-inning victory in Game 2 to complete the Zone 4 south doubleheader sweep.

"We did not deserve to win that game," Ashland coach Josh Leedy said of the comeback, a rarity for a Pilots team that's spent most of the summer blowing teams away. "You make five errors and we were down most of the game, but we did keep it close. This is what you have to do when you're down, just keep chipping away, chipping away."

Central Point had leads of 4-0, 6-3 and 8-4 before heading into the seventh with an 8-6 cushion. It didn't last.

With one out and nobody on, Lucas Stone started the rally with a triple and Luke Baldrica followed with an RBI double. Central Point intentionally walked Kealii Cecil to put runners at first and second with one out, and Schlecht made the visitors pay with a game-winning, two-run double to left-center.

Schlecht was 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, Baldrica was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and four RBIs and Stone was 3-for-4 with three runs scored to lead the Pilots (25-4, 18-4 league).

Brady Thomas pitched the first three innings for Ashland and surrendered five earned runs on five hits while striking out two. Sam Taylor and Cecil pitched two innings apiece and kept the Pilots close, with Cecil picking up the win and improving to 2-0.

In the second game, Ashland scored eight runs on nine hits in the fourth inning to break out of what was a tight game.

Six Pilots had multiple hits, including Baldrica, who capped a spectacular day by going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.

Central Point starter Juan Cortez limited Ashland to two runs over the first three innings before the Pilots exploded.

"We just were very disciplined at the plate and hit the ball the other way," Leedy said. "Against a guy [Cortez] who works away that's what you have to do. Cortez was pretty effective until we changed our approach."

Schlecht was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Wes Hitchko was 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored and Brent Hegdahl was 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored to lead the Pilots.

Max Anderson pitched the first four innings for Ashland and held Central Point to two runs in four innings before being replaced in the fifth by Evan Westhelle.

Ashland completes its six games in three days swing today at Grants Pass against the Diggers. Game 1 is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.


Central Point 411 200 0 — 8 8 4

Ashland 301 020 3— 9 10 5

Zelecki, Crawford (7) and Ullon; Thomas, Taylor (4), Cecil (6) and Adams. W — Cecil (2-0). L — Crawford. 2B — CP: Crawford, Lathrop; A: Baldrica, Schlecht 2. 3B — A: Stone, Baldrica.


Central Point 002 01 — 3 5 1

Ashland 200 8 3 — 13 14 1

Cortez, Brewer (4) and Ullon; Anderson, Westhelle (5) and Adams. W — Anderson (2-0). L — Cortez. 2B — CP: Crawford; A: Cecil, Schlecht. HR — A: Baldrica (7).

Little League

Ashland's 11-12 Little League all-star baseball team lost its bid for a District 6 championship, falling 2-1 to Klamath Falls Americans Wednesday night in Medford.

KFA overcame a 1-0 deficit to end Ashland's season, scoring one run in the fourth and another in the fifth to avoid a winner-take-all showdown tonight.

Ashland pitcher Eric Carlson started on the mound and delivered a masterful performance, holding down one of the most potent batting lineups in the tournament for most of the day.

KFA manufactured the tying run on an infield ground out and took the lead with a fifth-inning homer to center.

Teams from Klamath Falls have taken the past three District 6 titles. KFA will represent the league in the state tournament later this month in Eugene.

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