EUGENE — The Roseburg High baseball team clinched a Southwest Conference championship for the first time in seven years with a five-run, two-out rally in the top of the seventh in the first game of a doubleheader against Sheldon on Saturday.
The Indians smashed six straight hits off Sheldon reliever Kaleb Coffin to break open a tie ballgame and Roseburg starter Zack Mandera went the distance to polish off an 8-3 victory that secured the Tribe’s first SWC title since 2012.
“As soon as I get a second to think about it, I think it’s going to feel real good,” joked Roseburg coach Troy Thompson. “We’ve had a lot of individual improvements in this team, with our players, and it’s nice to see them get some payoff today with a league title.”
Jace Stoffal and the Indians’ offense made quick work of Sheldon in the nightcap with a 10-0 win that finished off the season sweep. Roseburg now has a six-game winning streak against the Irish, dating back to last season.
“It’s awesome,” Mandera said of sweeping Sheldon for a second straight year. “(My) freshman and sophomore year they were a good club … we just came out the last two years and played great baseball against these guys and it feels really good.”
Roseburg (15-6, 12-3 SWC) had to battle with Sheldon (9-16, 4-11) in the opener. Every time the Indians took a lead, the Irish would rally to tie the game.
Mandera got Roseburg on the board in the third inning with a two-out double.
Sheldon tied the game in the home half of the third on a single by Dawson Prickel and a throwing error by Spencer Six.
Both teams tacked on a run in the third. Mason Littlefield picked up the first of his three RBIs to give RHS a 3-2 lead. Sheldon tied it up again on a sacrifice by Nate Brown.
It looked like Sheldon might get a chance to win the game in its final at bat. Coffin retired Roseburg’s first two hitters in the seventh, but the Indians followed with the next six batters reaching base.
Jett Black, Jonathan Stone and Stoffal hit back-to-back-to-back singles, with Stoffal’s driving in the go-ahead run. A triple by Littlefield drove in two more and a double by Luke Van Norman made it 7-3.
A single by Six scored Roseburg’s final run.
An error and a hit batter put the first two Sheldon hitters on base in the bottom of the seventh, but poor baserunning doomed any comeback chance the Irish had.
Roseburg doubled off a runner at first base after a flyout to centerfield. The Indians nearly pulled off a triple play, but Sheldon’s Cal Morgan slid under the tag at second base after he was also caught off the bag.
Mandera induced a grounder to third to finish the game. The senior improved his record to 7-2 on the year and finished with nine strikeouts and only one walk. Mandera allowed six hits and three earned runs.
Stoffal held Sheldon without a hit over the first three innings of Game 2 and got plenty of run support as the Tribe jumped on the Irish for a 9-0 lead through three.
The junior right-hander improved to 4-1 on the year, pitching all five innings of the mercy rule win. Stoffal allowed just two hits, walking four and striking out nine.
Roseburg had four extra base hits against four Sheldon pitchers. Six, Doran Gillespie and Black all had doubles. Caden Johnson hit a triple. Six (two) and Gillepsie (three) led the Indians with a combined five RBIs.
Roseburg will now wait for the Class 6A playoff bracket to finalize on Thursday. As a conference champion, the Indians are guaranteed a home game in the first round May 20.
In the meantime, the Indians will host McNary for an endowment game at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Roseburg 002 100 5 — 8 13 2
Sheldon 002 100 0 — 3 6 1
Mandera and Six; Prickel, Coffin (6) and Lugo. WP — Mandera, 7-2. LP — Coffin. 2B — Littlefield (R), Van Norman (R), Mandera (R), Black (R), Morgan (S). 3B — Littlefield (R).
Roseburg 423 10 — 10 10 0
Sheldon 000 00 — 0 2 1
Stoffal and Six; Wagers, Boyd (2), Haffner (3), Apker (4) and Lugo, Davis (5). WP — Stoffal, 4-1. LP — Wagers. 2B — Six (R), Gillespie (R), Black (R). 3B — Johnson (R).