After fighting for its postseason life the previous two weeks, the Roseburg (Ore.) American Legion baseball team is headed to the World Series.
The Oregon state champ completed an undefeated swing through the Northwest Regionals, topping Washington state champ, Kelso Pacific Tech, 6-3 in the championship game Monday at Gonzaga University’s Washington Trust Field.
The Roseburg Docs (33-13) will stay in Spokane to take the short trip east to Avista Stadium on Friday where they will play Central Plains Region 6 champ Eden Prairie (Minn.) at about 8 p.m. in the final of four openers.
Docs right-handed pitcher Brandon Jackson (10-1) collected his second win in as many starts in the regional and was named the most valuable player. He went the distance in the Docs’ opening 18-3 run-rule shortened win over Wausau (Wis.) and came back Monday to throw all nine innings. He finished with a 1.65 earned run average in the tourney while opponents batted just .209 against him.
“Pretty much everything I could throw was working well,” Jackson said. “All my pitches were spot on. That’s what it takes to beat a great team like Pacific Tech.”
Jackson scattered five hits while walking none.
“I’ve asked him to go to the wall again and again and again in the last month and he always has a little bit more,” Roseburg coach Scott Shaver said of Jackson.
The Docs spotted Jackson a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Jered Stoffal, batting No. 9 in the lineup, delivered an RBI double and Johnny Farrington followed with a two-run single.
Roseburg extended the lead to 5-0 in the fifth. Mitch Huff had a run-scoring double and the fifth run scored on an error.
Farrington’s RBI single pushed the lead to 6-0 in the sixth.
Kelso (33-16) scored an unearned run in the seventh. Pacific Tech scored its final two runs in the eighth when Blake Giles and Austin Wegdahl opened the inning with back-to-back doubles.
Jackson, though, was never in serious trouble.
“We can always count on Brandon,” Docs first baseman and No. 2 pitcher Josh Graham said. “He was something else. He threw everything he had at them and gave up just five hits. We couldn’t ask for anything else from him.”
Kelso couldn’t mount a serious attack.
“There’s no doubt they’re good,” Kelso coach Grady Tweit said. “They were clutch hitting, they had good approaches at the plate, they made every play (and) they throw strikes. That’s why they’re the (regional) champion right there. They had a couple of mistakes, but nothing that ever killed them. We had some big mistakes that killed us.”
Docs centerfielder Cameron Newell, who is headed to Oregon State University, led Roseburg at the plate in the tourney, hitting .563 including two hits in the final.
“It’s unreal right now,” Newell said. “Just to win the state championship was unbelievable, it was unthinkable. No one thought we could do it, you know, barely getting out of our (super) regional and getting into (state). Then beating Medford twice (at state) was a huge accomplishment. This was even bigger for us. Coming here and going undefeated against seven other great teams … it’s a great feeling. It’s hard to explain right now.”