OLIVE HILL At first, Rob Lynch didn’t believe what he had just seen.
Lynch coaches the Ashland 8-10 All-Star baseball team, and for a second on Monday, he and his players hesitated after Monday’s District 6 championship game. Then they forevermore celebrated their 12-1, four-inning mercy-rule win over Morehead at Olive Hill Elementary School.
Ashland is thus part of history – Monday was the first 8-10 crown ever because nothing was offered for 8-year-olds before. (Ashland’s 9-11 squad won the district.) Which possibly made it more memorable for Ashland’s River Lynch (Rob’s son), Tevin Smith, Chandler Kisor and Josh Sutton, who were not old enough a year ago.
Kisor provided the largest portion of the offense. He smacked a three-run double in Ashland’s five-run first inning.
“I’m feeling proud of my team, and we have a good hitting team, have a good defense and good pitchers,” Kisor said.
Saying Kisor and friends were chiefly responsible for the win would be as erroneous as seeing LeBron James – a Nike endorser – wearing Adidas or Under Armour shoes. Pitcher Jace Manning struck out eight, and he worked a perfect game until Morehead scored a run in the fourth.
All with a fastball.
“(Manning), he’s special,” Morehead coach David Rose said. “He throws hard, great control. He’s the best we’ve seen.
“That’s all he needed to throw was a fastball. I mean, his coach said he had a curveball, but why throw a curveball when you’re in the strike zone with a fastball?”
Manning, meanwhile, was a boy of comparatively fewer words.
“They were really competitive, and they wanted to hit the ball,” Manning said. “I gave them all fastballs.”
The elder Lynch was a pitcher, third baseman and shortstop on Ashland’s 1986 12-year-old team that won the state and came to within two games of going to the Little League World Series.
“This group reminds me of that group,” Lynch said. “We had a girl on that team (Stacey Franz Davis). … We’ve got a girl on this team, too, Brookelyn Duckwyler. And we’ve got the same skill set … good camaraderie, a lot of great parents, just a lot of kids that love the game of baseball.”
Ashland put up more crooked numbers than Kentucky 1 from Grayson to Hitchins has curves. They sent eight to the plate in the first inning, added three more tallies in the second, and finished their evening with a four-spot in the third when 10 batters took their hacks.
Morehead, meanwhile, did not hit a ball to the outfield until Mason Havens’ single in the fourth. Rylan Beighle scored the only run on an error, Havens’ single, a passed ball and another error.
Amid the smartphone pictures being snapped, there was Manning – dribbling a basketball (hoops is his favorite sport) in the outfield grass.
And still speaking little.
“I just don’t like talking,” Manning said. “I’m not really that talkative.”
MOREHEAD 000 0 — 1 1 4
ASHLAND 534 x — 12 5 2
Beighle, Rose (3) and Pecco; Manning and Smith. W-Manning; L-Beighle. 2B-Kisor (A).