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.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0729kypgaJr0034.jpg Golfers go out with an encore

    Evan Goble said he “wasn’t completely ready for a playoff” on Monday.
    That didn’t stop him from holing two pressure-packed playoff putts to win the 13-14-year-old division of the final event of the summer on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour at Bellefonte Country Club.
     

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • EKC Grid-O-Rama set for Aug. 15-16

    The annual Eastern Kentucky Conference football scrimmage contests are set for Aug. 15-16 at Fleming County and Raceland.

    July 29, 2014

  • Holliday embraces high expectations

    As Marshall football prepares to return to the gridiron to begin fall practice Aug. 4, this season the program finds itself labeled something that it has not been in many years: a favorite.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mobley, Jude key for EKU

    Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood has revamped the Colonels’ defense in hopes of containing OVC opponents’ spread offenses.

    July 29, 2014

  • ZACK KLEMME: Punchless Reds wasting solid pitching

    The last nine days have been an exercise in understanding just how slim the margin for error is for baseball teams — even good ones — that can’t score.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726fbPrac0079.jpg Practice rolls on as kickoff approaches in less than 5 weeks

    As high school football teams strap on helmets and prepare for Friday nights next month, the theme of the first couple of weeks of practice for most is simple.
    You gotta work. Hard.
    And if you don’t, it’ll be exposed come Aug. 22.
    “Everybody looks good in helmets,” Ashland coach Tony Love said with a grin. “We’re all undefeated. There’s a lot of work to get done.
    “Our coaches and kids, we all know it, and that’s why they’re here and we’re here, and we’re gonna push hard every day.”

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • kenzie-breaststroke.jpg Pennington makes push for Nationals

    Swimmer Kenzie Pennington had one last chance to make the cut for this year’s YMCA Long Course National Championships.
    The 15-year-old from Ashland didn’t disappoint.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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