PRESTONSBURG Ashland 10U All-Stars manager Rob Lynch was none too pleased, and he made his feelings known.
“I took them to the side and was trying to wake them up in the fourth (inning),” Lynch said with a laugh. “You could tell they were like, oh, he’s to that level, I guess we better lock it in.”
Ashland did just enough to escape Hazard-Perry, 2-1, on the second day of pool play in the state tournament at Stonecrest baseball fields.
Aiden Pemberton scampered home on a wild pitch to put an exclamation point on a walk-off win. He scored both runs.
Lynch, who coaches third base, tried to hold up Gabe Long two batters before Pemberton scored the game-winner. Long went for the victory, instead, and Hazard-Perry’s catcher tagged him out.
After Hazard’s pitcher plunked Josh Sutton in the thigh, the bases were loaded. Lynch made a brief remark to Pemberton, with Long’s actions still fresh in his mind.
“I told him, ‘If you guys aren’t going to listen to me anyway, you make the choice,’” Lynch said. “‘If you think you can score, go.’”
Pemberton darted plateward as the ball scooted away from Hazard’s catcher. He retrieved it and met Pemberton at the dish with a high tag. Pemberton was ruled safe.
“Until he tagged him high, I thought initially he was out from my view, but he obviously got his leg in across the plate,” Lynch said.
Ashland’s offense struggled a day after Lexington Eastern shut out Ashland, 5-0. It committed just one error, though, according to Lynch.
“When you aren’t hitting the ball and you’re relying on defense, especially from 10-year-olds, it’s nerve-racking,” Lynch said.
Rhett Riggs and Brooklyn Duckwyler provided a pair of highlights with diving catches in right and left field, respectively.
Connor Flowers, River Lynch and Long pitched for Ashland. They had very few strikeouts, Lynch said, but also few walks. Hazard had five total hits. Ashland managed only three.
Pemberton singled to center field in the fourth. An outfield error allowed him to take second. He then stole third, and proceeded to reach home as the result of an errant throw to third base. That run knotted the contest at 1-1.
Ashland will take on Letcher County today at 5 p.m. Pemberton will likely pitch.
“We’re still trying to find sticks,” Lynch said.
Russell-Flatwoods 7, North Floyd 2
PRESTONSBURG Elijah Hankins pitched a “super ball game,” said Devils manager Chris Mokas, fanning 10 hitters and working into the sixth inning.
Hankins also scored two runs and Grayson Kiser drove in a pair as Russell-Flatwoods improved to 1-1 in pool play.
“We got some timely hits and played another solid defensive game,” Mokas said. “We have only given up six runs in two games at State. Think that speaks to how good our pitching is.”
R-F 203 200 — 7 7 1
N. FLOYD 010 001 — 2 6 2