ASHLAND Teams will always go through peaks and valleys during a season.
Ashland experienced that scenario in the last seven days.
The Kittens bookended district wins over rival Boyd County on Tuesday night around a less-than-impressive defeat against Lawrence County last week.
Coach Scott Ingram said the effort is always there but he is looking for more consistency with plenty of softball left to play.
“It’s looked like an EKG machine,” Ingram said of the past week. “It was pretty much the same effort tonight that I saw last week (against Boyd County). It was a better defensive effort. We swung it better. I get it. They are teenage kids and there are some games bigger than others. You will have little blips along the way.”
The Lady Lions grabbed an early lead but Ashland answered the challenge and pulled away for a 7-2 win.
Ashland scored four runs in the third inning after the Kittens turned to their pillar at the plate, Lauren Spears, to initiate the offensive response.
Ashland put the first five batters on in the frame. Spears and Kenzi Robinson hit RBI singles to quickly tie the contest. The Kittens loaded the bases with no one out but the next two hitters were retired.
Katie Crouch kept the inning alive with a base hit that bounced through the infield and scored the go-ahead runs to give her team a 4-2 advantage.
“You’ve got to have those hits,” Ingram said of Crouch’s single. “I don’t want to say that it busted the door down but definitely put a dent in it. We kept scratching from there. When you can get a hit like that from anywhere in the lineup, it’s big. It’s what we have been missing this year. We have strung together hits but could not find that timely hit.”
Ashland (6-7) added two more runs in the fourth on a Jada Erwin run-scoring single and a Lady Lions error. The Kittens add an insurance tally with a walk and three wild pitches in the sixth inning.
Robinson went the distance in the circle once again to pick up the victory. She struck out two batters and did not serve up a walk in both games against Boyd County (10-5).
“The question is, can you grab momentum and keep it?” Ingram said. “It’s a tough thing to do sometimes. It’s how you respond to adversity. We did that very well tonight.”
Haylee Thornsberry started the scoring for the Lady Lions in the third stanza. The sophomore belted a double into the left-center field gap to score Tori Badgett. She came home on Jacie Goad’s RBI single.
Boyd County had limited scoring opportunities in the final four innings and gave its opponent extra chances with nine walks from Lady Lions pitching.
“For three innings, we played really good,” Wheeler said. “I thought we commanded the batter’s box. Then we started swinging at stuff that wasn’t in the zone or on the first pitch. We were trying to do too much with it. We hit one ground ball the rest of the game.”
“It’s not hard to make plays when everything is in the air,” he added. “We walked too many people. When you get to the 7-8-9 hitters, your chances of putting those people away are really good. Today, we got burned at the bottom half. We did do a lot of good things. Our defense was a lot better.”
Thornsberry was 2 for 3 for Boyd County.
Spears went 3 for 4 at the plate for Ashland. Kendall Hillard and courtesy runner Alauna Troxler each scored twice.
The Kittens travel to Raceland tonight.
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BOYD CO. 002 000 0 — 2 7 1
ASHLAND 004 201 x — 7 8 0
Badgett, Thompson (4) and Peterman. Robinson and Spears. W—Robinson. L—Badgett. 2B—Thornsberry (BC), Spears (A).