In the first meeting between Ashland American and Russell-Flatwoods, Ashland scored eight times with two outs in the opening frame en route to a 10-5 victory.
Seven two-out runs over five innings did the trick on Thursday night for Ashland as they claimed the District 6 Area 2 9-and-10-year-old baseball All-Star title with an 8-1 win over Russell-Flatwoods at Fraley Field.
Ashland will take on Fleming County on Monday night for the right to play in the state tournament.
“The first time we played them we scored eight times in the first with two outs,” Ashland manager Matt McDowell said. “We just did a good job of taking advantage of opportunities. Give Russell a lot of credit, they are a good team.”
The Little Leaguers from Ashland again struck early plating two runs in the bottom of the first, when Kolby Coburn ripped a single through the left side of the infield.
Asher Stevens supplied Ashland with three more runs in the bottom of the second. The right-hander drilled a 1-1 offering over the left fence.
“That was his first home run,” McDowell said. “He has hit the top of the fence and everywhere else but over, so it was a big deal for him. I’m really proud of him.”
Ashland scored once in each of its final three at-bats, with the only non-two out run coming in the fourth when Johnathon Stevens scored after several errant throws on his attempted steal of second.
The forth was also when Russell-Flatwoods scored its only run. With runners on second and third and two away, Mason Quinn delivered a single up the middle plating Trent Tice. C.J. Bartram tried to follow Tice to the plate but was throw out after a perfect relay throw by Johnathon Stevens.
It was the second nice defensive play Stevens made on the night. In the second, he knocked down a grounder and threw out the runner from his knees.
“You’ve got to know Johnny,” McDowell said with a smile. “He was just showing off for the paper.”
The Ashland pitchers didn’t need much help, however, as they allowed just one hit and three base runners.
Ryan Atkins, Coburn, and Asher Stevens combined to strike out 11 Russell-Flatwoods batters.
“We really have four or five pitchers and can go as deep as six or seven,” McDowell said.
Atkins started the game throwing three innings without allowing a hit to pick up the win.
“I got a little nervous in the third, but he really battled through. He is a tough kid,” McDowell said of the left-hander. “He has a good fastball, and he has a changeup that is pretty wicked and throws them off.”
All of Ashland’s pitchers will be available for the championship game on Monday.
RUSSELL-FLATWOODS 000 100 1 1 3
ASHLAND AMERICAN 231 11x 8 6 1
Beardsly, Tice (5) and Bartram. Atkins, Coburn (4), A, Stevens (6) and Coburn, Flowers (4). W - Atkins. L – Beardsly. 2B: Atkins (A). HR: A. Stevens. (A).