PRESTONSBURG Ashland 10U All-Stars manager Rob Lynch said his team faced a “monumental task” in the Little League baseball state championship on Thursday.
Warren South was simply too much as Ashland fell, 11-1, and finished as Kentucky’s runner-up.
“This group represented Ashland well,” Lynch said. “We advanced to the finals of the state tournament. Not everybody gets to do that. I’m super proud.”
Ashland faced a great deal of adversity before the state tournament started. Chandler Kiser, Ashland’s clean-up hitter, sustained a broken leg during a sliding drill in practice.
“Kids that weren’t used to making plays stepped up and made plays,” Lynch said. “They made plays all throughout the week.”
Splendid defense was on display again on Thursday. Ashland threw three players out at home and catcher Tevin Smith nabbed a couple of runners on the basepaths. He nailed one trying to steal second and another trying to advance to third.
Smith also had a pair of hits, including one that loaded the bases in the second inning. Jack Aliff had walked and River Lynch had singled. Following Smith’s single, Connor Flowers came through with an RBI grounder. The next batter, though, struck out to end the frame. It was just 2-1 at that point, but Warren South began to pour it on, offensively.
“They could all hit the ball, front to back, and hit it on the button,” Lynch said. “Against Lexington (in the semifinals), they at least hit it in our vicinity where we could make plays. This time, it was all gappers and bloop singles. There was a swinging bunt, too.”
Lynch said both the financial and fan support were outstanding.
“It was kinda disappointing the way it ended, but everybody was super fired-up; they had cowbells and horns,” Lynch said. “Quite a bit of people came down and traveled a long way. It just didn’t go our way, but we’re super thankful for the support we received from parents and families.”