Murrayhill wins twice to reach the semifinals of the state tournament

PENDLETON - Murrayhill's 10-11-year-old Little League baseball all-stars beat the heat - and their first two opponents - at the state tournament in Pendleton.

Murrayhill opened with a resounding 10-0 win over Pilot Rock in its first game Saturday. The team then held on to beat Grants Pass 9-6 Monday in its second game.

Jordan Thompson tossed a one-hitter in the opener for Murrayhill, which won by the 10-run mercy rule after four innings. He allowed a hit to his Pilot Rock counterpart in the first inning then cruised the rest of the way, striking out seven including five in a row at one point. He also helped himself at the plate with a 3-for-3 effort.

Teammate Tanner Green gave Thompson some early breathing room by blasting a two-run homer in the first.

Murrayhill jumped out to a 4-0 lead in its game against Grants Pass and led 6-4 when Grants Pass rallied to tie the score at 6-6 in the fifth inning. But Murrayhill advanced in the championship round with three runs in the sixth.

Jack Kjemhus hit a one-out single to reach base for the third time in the game. Green drove him in for the lead with his second double of the evening. Kevin McClean followed by blasting a two-run homer for a 9-6 Murrayhill lead.

McClean closed out the victory by striking out two of three batters in the sixth. He struck out six batters in four innings, while walking just one to help Murrayhill advance in the winner's bracket where it will face Battle Creek of Sprague today (Thursday). The winner of that game advances to Saturday's championship.

Murrayhill struck first against Grants Pass when McClean singled and Thompson drove him in with a towering shot that nearly cleared the center field fence.

Murrayhill tacked on three runs with two outs in the second. Eric Scruggs and Xavier Rentz singled before Kjemhus' base hit knocked in Scruggs. Green followed with a two-run double for a 4-0 lead.

Grants Pass tied the game with four runs in the bottom of the second. Murrayhill regained the lead in the fourth. Jalen Miller reached and went to second on a pair of errors. Green brought him home with a single.

Thompson led off the fifth by ripping a single into left before moving to second on a wild pitch. Casey Nava's RBI single brought him in for a 6-4 lead. But Grants Pass responded again, scoring twice in the fifth to tie the game before Murrayhill pulled ahead one final time in the sixth.

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