ROSEBURG — Winning close games hasn’t been something the Roseburg High baseball team has excelled at in the past couple of weeks and it looked like their troubles might continue on Tuesday at home against South Medford.
The Panthers overcame a two-run deficit in the seventh inning and built a 5-3 lead over the Indians. Roseburg rallied back in its last at bats to tie the game 5-5 and force extra innings.
In the eighth inning, junior Spencer Six ended the game with a walk-off double, sending Roseburg to a 6-5 victory at Bill Gray Stadium at Legion Field.
“It’s definitely an amazing feeling to have personally,” Six said about hitting the game-winner. “But it was also very special to me because it’s senior night for a lot of my buddies I’ve been around for a long time.”
South Medford (12-11; 8-5 SWC) sent nine hitters to the plate in the seventh inning and plated four runs to comeback from a 3-1 deficit. Roseburg (13-6; 10-3) committed two errors in the frame, leading to a pair of unearned runs for the Panthers.
Facing another late-game collapse, the Indians kept battling and loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. A walk to Doran Gillespie brough Roseburg within one and a sacrifice fly by Zack Mandera tied the game.
“We were fortunate to play here (at home),” said Roseburg coach Troy Thompson.
“When we get to play here, we like to take advantage of that. Today, I think that helped us, knowing that we had that last chance. And the kids did a great job of continuing to believe that we could get that done.”
South Medford got the first two hitters on base in the eighth inning against reliever Zack Mandera. The senior issued a walk and gave up a single, but then got a two flyball outs and a groundout to keep the Panthers off the board.
Jace Stoffal led off the eighth inning with a single and moved to second on a well executed sacrifice bunt by Mason Littlefield. Two batters later, Six finished the game with his second hit of the contest.
“I didn’t have a great feeling about it. I hit the handle a little bit,” Six said. “I got some nice carry from the wind today, but I wish I hit it a little harder.”
“I thought it was going out,” countered Littlefield.
Mandera earned the win in relief for the Indians. He took over for Garrett Zeimet, who allowed only three hits over 6 ⅓ innings, but was credited with two of the runs in the seventh.
Eight of Roseburg’s nine batters recorded a hit. Joining Six with multiple hits were Stoffal, Littlefield and Luke Van Norman. Gillespie led the team with two RBI.
Roseburg is now one win away from clinching its first conference title since 2012. The Indians finish the season on Saturday with a doubleheader at Sheldon.
S. Medford 100 000 40 — 5 6 3
Roseburg 003 000 21 — 6 12 4
Thompson, Lauchstedt (6), Ledendecker (7) and Ledendecker, Thompson (7); Zeimet, Mandera (7) and Six. WP — Mandera, 6-2. LP — Ledendecker, 1-1. 2B — Ankeny (SM), Six (R), Van Norman (R). 3B — Littlefield (R).