Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

April 25, 2014

Tomcats walk off with 2-1 win over Musketeers

ASHLAND — Never mind that Ashland has scored the third-fewest runs of any 16th Region baseball team playing a full schedule.

Prolific? Maybe not. Clutch? Yes, at least over the past week or so.

The Tomcats plucked their third walk-off win in eight days — all by identical 2-1 scores — Thursday when Cam Fritz laced a single to deep right-center to drive in Evan Cox and beat Greenup County in eight innings.

Senior shortstop Jared Slone, who drove in the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh to force extras, said Ashland’s chemistry helps drive it to succeed in such moments, even — and especially — when offense is hard to come by.

“I think we as a team have more confidence for each other than we do for ourselves at times,” Slone said. “Every at-bat, you hear people in the dugout yelling, ‘Confidence, confidence.’ I think the team really helps you at the plate right there.”

Added coach Jeff Wilcox: “Our attitude at the first of the year was lousy, I thought. It’s getting a lot better, win or lose, it’s getting better, and that’s what I like about this team. They’re starting to grow up a little bit, and just playing great team ball.”

Fritz and Aaron Elam were each 2-for-3 for the Tomcats (10-7). Cox was 2-for-4.

Fritz earned the victory in relief of starter Robert Griffith, who thew 5 1/3 scoreless frames.

“It’s fun,” Fritz said of taking the hill in a tight game late. “(Wilcox) has been doing it to me a lot this year. It’s actually like the third time this week.

“I have a great group of guys behind me and they played solid behind me, so nothing more I could ask.”

Gage Hughes was 3-for-3 for the Musketeers (9-13). Tristan Downing was 2-for-3 and Jared Hunt went 2-for-4.

Downing, the starting pitcher, allowed one run in seven innings, taking a no-decision.

Hughes and Hunt occupy the top two spots in the Greenup County order, and coach Greg Logan noted they did their job in getting on base. But the Musketeers’ 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 2-for-11 and didn’t drive a run in.

“We got 10 hits, but how you can string 10 hits over eight innings (with one run), I don’t know that,” Logan said. “We’ve gotta get these big horses somehow, some way, to get (runners) in, and we’re not doing that.”

Thursday’s game was scoreless through six innings as starters Griffith and Downing matched zeroes.

Greenup County finally got to Fritz for a run in the seventh when Hughes led off with an infield single, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Hunt’s line-shot single past a diving Slone in a drawn-in infield.

That put the Tomcats in a 1-0 hole headed to their final at-bat.

But Downing walked Matt Vincent and Drew O’Bryan to start the seventh, then Trent Woods dropped a successful sacrifice bunt against Greenup County’s wheel play, which is designed to make it difficult to bunt a runner to third base.

So Slone came up with two runners in scoring position and one out, showed bunt and quickly fell behind 0-2. But he hit a sac fly to center to plate Vincent, who scored uncontested when Hunt threw to third base.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit this year, so I just wanted to lift the ball in the air,” Slone said. “I knew Matt was fast enough to score when they were playing back.”

Fritz pitched a scoreless top of the eighth to set up the home half. Cox led off with a double and Aaron Elam drew an intentional walk to give Fritz an opportunity to win his own game.

“I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit,” Fritz said. “I knew we had some runners in position, and they walked (Elam) before that and went to me, and I just tried to put something out there.” 

He hit reliever Christian Wireman’s pitch to deep right-center to score Cox easily.

Ashland has scored two runs or fewer in six straight games. It has managed to win half of them by being solid on the mound and in the field.

“Our pitching has been, I think, excellent all year long,” Wilcox said. “(Griffith) is getting stronger and stronger for us, and he’s out there battling every inning and doing a great job, and then Cam came in and we had a couple plays here and there that saved us, and that’s what good teams do.”

The Musketeers dropped to 1-8 in games determined by one run.

“We can’t put ourselves in that predicament,” Logan said. “We should’ve had five, six runs. Many, many opportunities, didn’t take the opportunities and when you don’t take the gifts, it’s gonna be tough.”

GREENUP CO.    000    000    10    —    1    10    0

ASHLAND    000    000    11    —    2    8    0

Downing, Wireman (8) and Coldiron; Griffith, Fritz (6) and Fritz, Mullins (6). W — Fritz. L — Wireman. 2B — Downing (GC), Cox (A).

ZACK KLEMME can be reached at zklemme@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2658.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014