MOREHEAD Ashland’s baseball team would’ve liked a lot less of Moore.
It didn’t happen. Rowan County senior pitcher Mason Moore struck out 10 Tomcats and knocked in two runs in Thursday’s 10-0 no-hitter in five innings at Greenhill Park’s Don Hardin Legion Field.
Moore walked two and hit a batter. Afterward, he seemed relaxed about what he’d done.
“Our game plan was for me to go out there and throw strikes,” Moore said, “and when they hit the ball, our team made good plays, so it was an all-around good game.”
Something you don’t always notice from Moore is his hitting. It is noteworthy that going into Thursday, his .483 batting average is second to Colby Wilburn among starters.
When asked Thursday, Moore, a University of Kentucky signee, snickered.
“So far, I’ve hit the ball pretty good,” Moore said. “It’s kind of surprised me and the whole team. I’m not going to UK to hit, but the team needed me to hit this year; I’ve focused on that a little more this year.”
Ashland (3-7) didn’t solve Moore in its first at-bat – he struck out the side, twice on called third strikes.
There was a mechanical concern for the Vikings: a tendency to drop the back shoulder during the swing. Thursday, seven of Rowan County’s 13 outs were infield pop-ups or high flies to the outfield.
“We’ve been working on (improving) that in practice,” Vikings coach Scott Collins said. “It showed tonight. It’s a work in progress; some days are better than others.”
Rowan County (10-2) rudely treated Ashland starter Kaden Brewer in the bottom of the first. The five runs the Vikings scored were varied: one on designated hitter Chance Furnish’s single; two on Moore’s bases-loaded single; one when Brewer hit right fielder Nathan Goodpaster (Furnish came home); and the final tally when catcher Hunter Hampton celebrated his 16th birthday by plating Moore with a sacrifice fly to right.
Ashland dropped its third straight game and fifth of the last six. Coach Evan Yongue said the Tomcats are lacking “tenacity up on the mound.”
“We can’t continue to allow walks and hit by pitches to dictate our first inning,” Yongue said. “We dig the hole, and it’s hard for us to get out.”
The closest thing the Tomcats came to a scoring chance was in the second inning. It started when Moore plunked designated hitter Asher Stevens, walked third baseman Nick Jividen and ended when Sawyer Alley struck out swinging, Ryan Brown grounded to shortstop Aiden Leuenberger and Moore fanned Brett Mullins.
ASHLAND 000 00 — 0 0 3
ROWAN CO. 500 23 — 10 7 0
Brewer, Peppers (3), Alley (5) and Mullins. Moore and Hampton. WP—Moore. LP—Brewer.