MEDFORD, Ore. — The Medford Mustangs opened their pursuit of a sixth straight American Legion state title with a 6-3 loss to Roseburg Tuesday night at Harry and David Field.
A group that won the Southwest Conference in the high school regular season carried that success into the start of the summer ball season.
Head coach Nate Mayben said prior to the game that in his nine years of coaching the team, there’s never been an instance in which he’s graduated more talent.
"We knew this was coming, we knew this was going to happen,” he said. “Part of the roster we made up was kind of with the intent of, ‘Ok, we're building for something here now, we've got a bunch of young guys on the team, a bunch of guys that can come back next year."
He didn’t go as far as calling it a rebuild—he still has the tradition in mind as well as high expectations.
With that being said, the Mustangs lost a lot, and perhaps the two biggest holes are those vacated by outfielder Jacob Melton and infielder Joe Johnson.
Johnson is currently playing with the Medford Rogues and Melton recently signed with Oregon State.
Mayben said the team isn’t dwelling on losing their contributions, instead is excited for their big opportunities.
"I'm excited to see those guys do what they're doing,” he said. “They're having great spring seasons at college, getting opportunities to play at a high level. Obviously sending a guy to a Division I school like Oregon State, one of the best programs in the nation, it's cool to watch, it's cool to see. It's just even better knowing the type of people that they are and what opportunities they're getting because of it."
The Mustangs return to action Thursday on the road against the Klamath Falls Falcons.