The Ashley American Legion Post 518 baseball team is in for a harried week, but started things off with a bang.
Post 518 outslugged the visiting Johnstown Post 254 Hawks 10-4 in the game and closed with a 14-1, five-inning victory Tuesday night at Oxford Township Park.
Ashley (9-9) scored in every inning to push its way back to the .500 mark, getting a run in the first, four in the second, five in the third and four in the fourth. Post 518 also received solid defense and standout pitching from Buckeye Valley grad Marcus Caplin and Olentangy grad Chad Nugen.
Caplin (4-2) won his sixth decision of the year, allowing an unearned run on four hits and one walk while striking out three in three innings. Nugen was strong in the final two frames, giving up just two walks while striking out one.
Ashley opened the bottom of first when Olentangy grad Kenny McCambridge reached on an infield single. McCambridge stole second and took third on a Johnstown (3-11) error, then scored an out later when Liberty grad Jimmy Waterwash slapped a solid single up the middle.
Johnstown got its run in the second on a leadoff double by Luke Rice and a two-out RBI single from Lauren Albright, but Ashley rallied right back in the bottom of the inning.
Buckeye Valley’s A.J. Veach reached on an error on a pop up to first base, then stole second on a pickoff play that went awry. Otterbein student and Gahanna Christian Drew Martindale then hustled his way to an infield single on a routine grounder to second, allowing Veach to take third.
Martindale then stole second on another pickoff attempt, but the throw from first was dropped by the Hawk second baseman, allowing Veach to come home. Martindale eventually went to third on a fly out, then scored on a wild pitch with Buckeye Valley’s Kyle Whetro hitting.
Whetro stole second, McCambridge walked and Big Walnut grad Joe Curran reached on a bunt single down the third base line to load the bases. Waterwash then ripped a single through the right side, scoring Whetro and McCambridge.
In the third, Jonathan Alder grad Adam Collier reached on a pop up down the right field line and Veach singled to left. Collier then stole third and Martindale drew a walk to load the bases and knock out Johnstown starter Andy Richardson.
With one out, Caplin hit a sacrifice fly to score Collier, and Whetro followed with a single to left center to bring Veach home. McCambridge then singled up the middle to plate Martindale, and after a balk, Curran roped a single through the right side to get Whetro and McCambridge home.
Ashley capped its scoring in the fourth without benefit of a hit. Collier and Liberty’s Christian Watson drew one-out walks, and Martindale was hit by a pitch from Johnstown’s fourth pitcher of the night, Nick Walker.
Big Walnut grad Chad Townley drew a bases-loaded walk to force Collier in, Whetro was hit by a pitch with two out to bring Watson home, Olentangy’s Griffin Binkley walked to plate Martindale, and Collier was walked by Rice, the Hawks’ fifth pitcher of the night, to send Townley home with the final run.
McCambridge, Curran and Waterwash had two singles apiece, Curran and Waterwash adding three RBIs each and McCambridge one. Collier, Veach, Martindale and Whetro each had one single, Whetro driving in two runs. Binkley, Townley and Caplin also added one RBI each.
Rice had the only extra base hit, his second-inning double, for Johnstown, while Albright, Jacob Cramer and Chris McClain added a single apiece, Albright driving in the lone Hawk run.
Richardson took the loss, allowing four earned runs, seven hits and three walks in two-plus innings. Richardson struck out two.
Ashley returns to action at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, playing two games in the 2011 Buckeye Elite Showcase at Oxford Township Park. Post 518 plays a 1 p.m. game Friday at home in the Showcase before opening District 6 Tournament play at 9 a.m. Saturday against Madison County Post 105 at Highland Community Park in Sparta.