One might call Ashland’s Logan Salow a sucker for drama.
He’s often sucked into it, at least.
Salow and the Tomcats survived another tension-packed finish in the riveting rivalry series with Boyd County as they handed the Lions a 7-6 loss at Addington Field on Saturday.
Action picked up in the top of the fifth, four days following the start of the game. A severe storm stopped play on Tuesday night with Boyd County ahead 4-2.
After an uneventful fifth inning on Saturday morning, Ashland sent 10 batters to the dish in the sixth to cook up a five-hit, five-run feast.
Boyd County answered back with two runs before leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth.
While Tomcats hitters tried — to no avail — to supply insurance runs in the seventh, Salow warmed up his left arm in the bullpen.
The University of Kentucky-bound senior thrust himself in the face of danger before emerging unscathed just as he did during last season’s 16th Region tournament run, which concluded with a one-run defeat of Boyd County on the strength of a Salow complete game.
After three strikeouts, one on which Jake Cook reached because of a wild pitch, Salow walked pinch-hitter Trey Johnson and Billy McCoy.
“I stayed with the two-seamer to get some movement,” Salow said. “The slider wasn’t working, they weren’t going for it. So I tried to work the corners of the plate with fastballs.”
Salow put the clamps on the Lions for good with his rare fourth and final punchout of the inning as he got Tanner Bryan fanning at an outside heater.
“I finally hit my spots and got some swings and misses,” said Salow.
The victory was well-timed for the defending region champions. Just two days prior, East Carter beat the Tomcats, 8-5, at Ashland. The loss prompted a then-disgusted coach Jeff Wilcox to say that until his team started playing with passion, it would continue to take its lumps.
A much livelier bunch bounced around the dugout on Saturday, especially amid a five-run sixth.
“Good shot in the arm for us,” Wilcox commented. “Much more positive, upbeat.”
Salow said the message to the team after the East Carter game was to eliminate selfishness.
“If somebody else made a mistake, we wouldn’t try to pick them up, we’d keep them down,” he said. “We need to keep our teammates up, stay positive, and stay up in the dugout.”
Boyd County coach Brandon Ramsey elected to allow pitcher Dylan Grimm, who started on Tuesday, attempt to work out of a sinking sixth.
The sophomore right-hander got the important second out as three-hole hitter Cade O’Bryan popped out, but Elam followed with an ultimately decisive bouncing single into right field that narrowly traveled past Cook’s glove.
“I was just trying to make good contact,” said Elam, who was 2-for-4. “I was looking for a fastball, which luckily he gave me on an 0-2 pitch.”
Elam’s hit plated a pair, putting Ashland ahead 7-4.
McCoy, who Ramsey said has been swinging a hot bat lately, shot a two-run double down the left-field line to bring Boyd County to within one, at 7-6. But the bases later remained jammed full of Lions following a hot-shot grounder by Jacob Barnwell that was snagged by O’Bryan at third base for an unassisted putout.
“It wasn’t like Jacob didn’t hit it hard,” Ramsey said. “Guy comes up and hits a laser and they make a play. That’s kind of the way baseball goes sometimes.”
McCoy tallied two hits and a game-high three RBIs for Boyd County (11-8), which saw its seven-game winning streak come to a halt.
Jared Slone was 2-for-3 for Ashland. He also had an RBI in the sixth.
Evan Cox, who started the game on the mound Tuesday, moved to shortstop on Saturday. Jake Hall pitched two innings before giving way to Salow.
Cox was 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate.
The Lions and Tomcats reconvene on Tuesday night at Alumni Field for another 64th District showdown sure to contain some more drama.
ASHLAND 110 005 0 — 7 10 6
BOYD CO. 112 002 0 — 6 5 0
Cox, Hall (5), Salow (7) and Fritz; Grimm, Anders (7) and Barnwell. W—Hall. L—Grimm. Sv—Salow. 2B—McCoy (BC).
ASHLAND Jake Hall’s arm was put to good use on Saturday.
Just hours after wrapping up his two-inning relief outing at Boyd County, the senior right-hander footed the rubber for the start against Fairview.
Hall threw plenty of strikes (37 out of 53 pitches), gave up one hit, and went 3-for-3 with three singles and two RBIs.
Hall picked up the win as Ashland cruised past the Eagles, 13-0, at Alumni Field.
Between games, head coach Jeff Wilcox texted Hall to ask him if he’d like to start against the Eagles.
“My arm felt good, and I threw fine the first game, so I thought, why not?” said Hall, who made just his second start of the season. He threw a complete game in an 8-2 win over Rowan County on April 9.
Hall missed most of last season due to torn ligaments and inflammation in his right forearm. He remembers pitching just one game in the latter part of 2012.
The injury, he discovered, was caused by a slider he’d been throwing. So he mixed up his repertoire, tossing out the slider and adding a split-finger changeup and a curveball.
“It’s not so much stress on my arm,” Hall said.
Hall had strong support on Saturday as Ashland scored twice in the first, once in the second, four times in the third and scooted six across the plate in the fourth.
Logan Salow went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, reaching base in four out of four plate appearances. Jared Slone was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Cade O’Bryan racked up two hits and two runs as well to help lead Ashland (9-7).
Fairview (3-11) managed just two hits — accounted for by Jonathan Burke and Jesse Menshouse — as it dropped its fifth consecutive contest.
FAIRVIEW 000 00 — 0 2 0
ASHLAND 214 6x — 13 14 1
Harris, Freeman (4) and Burke; Hall, Bradley (5) and Fritz, Mullins (5). W—Hall. L—Harris. 2B—Salow (A).