ASHLAND David Greene’s version of Ashland’s schedule displays the same opponent adjacent to each date.
“One thing we’ve been talking about all year, and we talked about it in pregame (Thursday), was just making sure we understand who the competition is every game,” said the Tomcats’ coach. “And that’s ourselves. We’ve gotta work to get better every single day. That means we make quality pitches, we play quality defense and get quality at-bats.”
Ashland went 3 for 3 in checking the coach’s wish list as the Tomcats tore past Greenup County, 16-1, in four innings at Alumni Field.
Batting below the Mendoza line and laying claim to just one home run entering Thursday’s contest, Richie Hall was hungry.
After watching a curveball drop in the zone for a strike, Hall prepared for the possibility of a double dose of Carson Wireman’s yakker.
Hall unfurled a powerful swing, lifting a three-run shot over the left-center-field fence to propel Ashland to a 3-0 first-inning lead.
“Richie, I’ll tell you what now, he’s absolutely been obliterating the ball in BP (batting practice),” Greene said. “The last several days in practice, he’s just been killing the ball, so it was good to see him get locked in on one tonight and take care of business. I know he felt good about that. He was sitting on that one pretty good and got a good swing on it.”
Hall went 2 for 3 with four RBIs in the cleanup spot. In the 2-hole, Zach Greene was 4 for 4 with a double and three RBIs. Leadoff batter Evan Dickison tallied two doubles, and he eventually scored the game-ending run on a wild pitch in the fourth.
Steve Logan assumed head-coaching duties with big brother Greg at a pastor’s retreat with his son, Billy, in Virginia.
“I told him, ‘boy, you picked a heck of a time do this to me this year,’” Steve said, cracking a grin. Steve subbed in last year and Greenup County beat Highlands, Beechwood and Hurricane (West Virginia).
That was a much different Musketeers crew. This group, while green, is inducing plenty of smiles from the Logans, however.
“You see (growth) on a daily basis,” Steve Logan said. “This is a fun bunch to coach. I enjoy them. You’re use to talking to guys that have the concept, but now when you say something to these guys, their eyes are as big as cue balls. They’re like a sponge soaking it all in.”
Greenup County (3-9) gave up a gaudy number in the second as the Tomcats sent 16 batters to the dish. They feasted in the form of eight hits and 12 runs while capitalizing on two Musketeer miscues. Dickison gathered both of his RBIs and Zach Greene collected all three of his in the stanza.
“The Dickison boy, right from the get-go, you’ve got your hands full there,” said Logan, who primarily manages pitchers. “I’ve hated pitching to him, well ... I hope he’s a senior.”
Dickison is, in fact, a 12th-grader, but several younger Tomcats got in on the act, too.
Freshman left-hander Ryan Atkins tossed all four frames, relenting five hits and striking out seven.
“I was pleased,” Greene said. “Ryan’s a strike-thrower. He’s around the plate. Our defense loves when Ryan pitches because they know things are going to happen. They’re going to put balls in play. He’s not going to get behind a lot of guys. He doesn’t even go deep in a lot of counts. It makes us better when you got guys on the mount that are around the plate all the time.”
The Musketeers avoided a three-inning mercy-rule decision thanks to an Auston Clarkson single, an Ashton Lacey ground-rule double and a Zane Carter sacrifice fly in the third to make it 15-1.
“Offensively, I like the way they competed at the plate,” Logan said. “They did not quit.”
Eight different Tomcats (7-4) recorded at least one hit. Ashland will host both Fleming County and Bardstown on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. Greenup County goes to West Carter tonight.
GREENUP CO. 001 0 — 1 5 2
ASHLAND 3(12)0 1 — 16 14 0
Wireman, Kitchen (2) and Bays; Atkins and Marushi. W—Atkins. L—Wireman. 2B—Dickison 2 (A), Greene (A), Lacey (G). HR—Hall (A).