EUGENE – The Roseburg High baseball team suffered a pair of setbacks in the race for the Southwest Conference championship on Saturday at South Eugene High School.
The Axe rallied late in both games of a conference doubleheader to sweep the Indians, 4-2 and 5-4. The victories give South Eugene sole possession of first place in the SWC and the head-to-head tiebreaker against Roseburg.
“We’ve got to finish games,” said assistant coach Tim Sustaire. “They’re a good club. We can’t give them extra opportunities.”
Roseburg (10-5; 7-2 SWC) took the lead first in both games, but South Eugene (15-4; 8-1) mustered a rally in the sixth inning of each contest.
The Indians scored runs in the fifth and sixth innings of game one on RBI singles from Doran Gillespie and Spencer Six. South Eugene answered the runs with four in the bottom of the sixth off starter Zack Mandera.
Hunter Brown tied the game for S.E. with a one-out double and Zach Menegat drove Brown in with a double to put the Axe up 3-2.
A two-out single by Bryce Boettcher made it 4-2 in South Eugene’s favor and Roseburg couldn’t respond against South starter Kaden Miller in the seventh. Miller went the distance and allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked four.
Mandera took the loss for Roseburg. He allowed 10 hits, five of which came in the sixth. The senior was credited with three earned runs and had one strike out.
The Indians took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of game two. Six scored on a fielding error and Jett Black hit a two-run homer, his first of the year.
South finally broke through against RHS starter Jace Stoffal in the fifth for two runs. Mandera hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth, but the Axe took the lead for good in the home half of the inning.
South Eugene drew within one run on a single by Aidan Bray, but the Indians nearly got out of the frame with a double play. The relay from second base was a hair late at first to get Tristan Vidal and the game-tying run came in.
Miller gave South Eugene the lead with a two-out single that drove Stofall out of the game. The Roseburg junior took his first loss of the season.
“The kids have got to regroup and they’ve got to have each other’s back,” Sustaire said as the team turns its attention to a single conference game at North Medford on Tuesday.
NOTE: Roseburg head coach Troy Thompson missed Saturday’s games at South Eugene due to personal reasons. He is expected to return to the team shortly.
Mandera and Six; Miller and Brown. WP — Miller. LP — Mandera, 4-1. 2B: R — Littlefield. SE — Brown, Menegat, Boettcher.
Stoffal, Zeimet (6) and Six; Brown and Edwards. WP — Brown. LP — Stoffal, 2-1. HR: R — Mandera, Black.