Coach Mike Delaney had concern about how an unplanned layoff might effect his Ashland Post 76 ballclub in the opening round of the American Legion 4 Tournament.
It didn’t take him long to find out.
Logan Salow, Jared Slone, Seth Boyle, Aaron Elam and Luke Farrar opened Tuesday’s game against Latonia Post 203 with consecutive hits as Ashland scored five times in the first inning and never looked back.
The Sixers racked up 18 hits in an 8-3 victory in Central Park.
Delaney was a bit taken back by his team’s big offensive showing considering that Post 76 had not played in more than a week.
“We had a couple of people cancel on us,” Delaney said. “I was a little suspect at first today, but the way we came out swinging set the tone.”
Salow led off with a single and Slone bunted for a hit. Boyle smacked a run-scoring double over the head of Latonia’s center fielder, and Elam and Farrar followed with RBI singles.
“It was awesome,” said Elam, who finished 3-for-5. “We’re pretty hard to beat when we’ve got everybody hitting.”
Every Post 76 starter contributed at least one hit.
Elam, a .407 hitter during the regular season, launched a solo shot over the right-center field fence in the seventh inning for his fourth home run of the season.
“They hit the ball real well,” Latonia coach Rick Pangallo said. “We got in trouble in the first inning by leaving some pitches up in the strike zone and not doing a good job on a couple of bunts.”
Overall, Salow and Cameron Fritz supplied three hits apiece, while J.B. Brown and Nick Thompson each doubled and singled. Slone also had a pair of hits.
Meanwhile, Sammy Holder pitched into the eighth inning and struck out six batters to earn the victory against the first-year legion team from northern Kentucky. Fritz (catcher), Salow (center field) and Boyle (shortstop) each helped out with a fine defensive play.
Latonia starting pitcher Joey Cochran settled down after a rocky start to pitch three scoreless innings before giving way to Ryan Mullen.
The Post 76 offense came alive again with 10 hits over the last four innings. The Sixers scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth for an 8-2 lead.
The victory moved Ashland into the winner’s bracket final against Shelbyville Post 37 late Tuesday night. Shelbyville defeated Morehead 4-3 in the tournament opener.
Latonia’s Trevor Neihaus collected three hits, including a double.
ASHLAND 500 001 110 — 8 18 4
LATONIA 100 001 010 — 3 9 3
Holder, Jones (8) and Fritz; Cochran, Mullen (5) and Lankhert; W—Holder. L—Cochran. 2B—Boyle (A), Thompson (A), Brown (A), Fritz (A), Neihaus (L), V. Pangallo (L). HR—Elam (A).
Shelbyville Post 37 4
Morehead Post 126 3
Shelbyville scored twice in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie and went on to edge Morehead in the tournament opener.
Paul Miller singled to get Selbyville started in the sixth. He later scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error as Morehead was unable to complete a double play at first base. Drew Greenwood added a run-scoring single to make it 4-2.
Shelbyville starter Lance Shelton picked up the victory with relief help from Dan Sanders and Buddy Johnson.
Morehead posted a 10-7 hit advantage, including doubles from J.D. Wagoner and Cory Christy.
MOREHEAD 020 000 100 — 3 10 1
SHELBYVILLE 100 012 00x — 4 7 1
Collett and Whitt; Shelton, Sanders (7), Johnson (8) and Wiley. W—Shelton. L—Collett. 2B—Wagoner (M), Christy (M), Wiley (S),