For The Independent
The hits keep on coming for the Ashland Kittens.
Ashland continued its sizzling performance at the plate en route to a 13-2 victory over Raceland on Friday night at Raceland-Worthington High School.
Ashland belted out 13 hits, including five doubles and a towering home run to center field by McKenzie Vanover. The Kittens tied a state record for home runs in a game during its victory over West Carter on Thursday.
"Any time you throw up 30 runs in two games, you have to be pleased," said Kittens coach Dave Miller. "Our entire lineup is hitting the ball very well. I hope we can keep it up."
The first five Kitten batters of the game reached on base hits.
Sydney Whitt and Katie Baldock led off the game with infield hits before back-to-back doubles plated the first three runs of the game. After singles by Megan Griffith and Hayley Kilburn, Ashland staked itself to an early five-run lead.
"That's what we talked about coming down here," Miller said."We have to get out to a good start. Raceland is a good team and we can't let them hang around."
The Lady Rams scored a run of their own in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor Podunavac scored after Savannah Mackie doubled off the center-field wall.
Megan Hensley continued her year-long dominance over 16th Region hitters while throwing a four-hitter. The sophomore lost her control at times but was still able to tally 13 strikeouts and issued 4 walks.
"I don't think she had her 'A' game tonight and I think she would be the first to tell you," said Miller. "She will battle tooth-and-nail even when she doesn't have her best stuff."
The Kittens scored two runs in the fourth without a hit, thanks to a couple of Raceland errors.
Raceland (14-10) settled down after a tentative first inning. Starter Kelsey Diller allowed only one hit in the next five frames.
"We made a lot of mistakes that we haven't made in a long time," said Lady Rams coach Shawn Johnson. "It was a big stage for them tonight. We had some early jitters but when you play with young players that might happen. That first inning snowballed and we never really recovered."
Ashland put the game on ice in the sixth. After Hensley's long ball, Ashland connected on three straight doubles to plate five more runs.
The young Lady Rams were missing an important piece of puzzle. Senior Bre Grubb was not in the lineup because of a class trip.
"It takes a big chunk of your offense out," said Johnson. "She is a really good hitter."
Every Kitten in the lineup had at least one hit and received RBIs from Whitt, Vanover, Hensley, Griffith, Kilburn, Sydney Cullop and Jordan Meade.
Ashland (18-7) extended its winning streak to six games. Miller hopes his team has found its stride in the final weeks of the season.
"I am very pleased where we are and the way we are swinging the bat. I think we can still get better."
ASHLAND 500 210 5 — 13 13 1
RACELAND 101 000 0 — 2 4 5
Hensley and Campbell; Diller and Curley. WP—Hensley. LP —Diller. 2B—Vanover (A), Hensley (A), Cullop (A), Meade (A), Whitt (A), Mackie (R)HR —Vanover (A).