MEDFORD — Holding on to a lead late in a game continued to be an issue for the Roseburg High baseball team on Tuesday.
North Medford rallied from three-run deficits twice and walked-off with a 10-9 win in nine innings against the Indians at Jim McAbee Field in Medford.
“You’ve got to close ball games. You’ve got to make plays in big time situations,” assistant coach Tim Sustaire said. “The kids competed their butts off, but we’ve just got to make big plays.”
Roseburg (10-6; 7-3 SWC) jumped out to a 5-2 lead through three innings, but North Medford (9-10; 4-6) rallied with three runs in the fourth inning to tie the game.
The Black Tornado took a 6-5 advantage on a wild pitch in the sixth inning for their first lead, but the Tribe came through in the seventh to tie the game on a two-out single by Jace Stoffal.
In extra innings, Roseburg took a three-run lead in the top of the ninth. Zack Mandera led off with a single and later scored on a throwing error. North tried to turn a double play, but second baseman Jeremiah Huffman misfired to first allowing Mandera to come around.
Mason Littlefield drove in Stoffal with two outs to give Roseburg an 8-6 lead and he came around to score Roseburg’s final run after right fielder Ryan Kloek misplayed a single by Luke Van Norman.
Roseburg got within one out of winning the game in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t close the deal. A couple of errors allowed North Medford to get runners into scoring position and Kloek drove in a run with a sacrifice fly that got the Tornado within two runs with two outs.
Reliever Austin Anderson started to run out of gas in his longest outing of the season. The junior pitched five innings and allowed only two hits, but gave up back-to-back walks to load the bases.
Jett Black took over on the mound needing one out to get the save, but surrendered a single to Josh Baptiste that drove in two runs to tie the game 9-9. Two batters later Ryan Sandoval drove in the game-winning run on a single to left field.
“This is going to be a tough one to swallow. It’s no fun to be on the other end of it,” said Sustaire. “We’ve got to get better and find a way to get better and want to. And I think we do. The pieces are there, we’ve just got to put it together.”
Stoffal led Roseburg at the plate going 3-for-5 with four RBI. Van Norman also had three hits for the Indians. Josh Baptiste led North Medford with four hits and three RBI.
Roseburg has now lost three-straight games in Southwest Conference play, but remain only one-game behind South Eugene (15-5; 8-2) for first place in the standings. The Axe lost 8-7 against Grants Pass on Tuesday.
Up next, the Indians will host Grants Pass for a conference doubleheader on Saturday. Game one starts at 11 a.m.
N. Medford; 101;301;004;—;10;11;12
Zeimet, Anderson (4), Black (9) and Six; Borraggine, Buchanan (3), Dunlevy (9) and Passey. WP — Dunlevy. LP — Anderson, 0-1. 2B — Six (R), Baptiste (NM), Kloek (NM), Sandoval (NM).