The first time Ashley American Legion Post 518’s baseball team met the Knox County Royals/Utica Post 92, things didn’t go well. The next time they met, a mistake cost Post 518 in a 1-0 loss.
Wednesday night, Ashley finally got one back, getting four runs in the second inning and breaking a 6-6 tie with a run in the sixth for a 7-6 victory at Oxford Township Park.
Ashley (6-6) has now won four straight games and evened its record at .500 after an 0-3 start. The loss was just the fourth for Utica (11-4-1).
Post 518 opened the game with a run in the first. After a pair of strikeouts, Liberty grad Jimmy Waterwash was hit by a pitch and scored when Olentangy grad Sean Leonard hit a double off the fence in left center field.
Utica got the run back plus another in the second on a sacrifice fly and a ground out, but Ashley rebounded in the bottom half of the inning.
Buckeye Valley’s A.J. Veach, down 1-2 in the count at one point, worked it back to full, then belted a home run over the fence in left, his first blast of the year.
One out later, Big Walnut grad Chad Townley, also down 1-2 at one point, worked his count full before rocketing another homer, his first of the season, over the fence in left center.
But Ashley didn’t quit with two out. Buckeye Valley’s Kyle Whetro reached on a Texas Leaguer to shallow left center, stole second and took third on a throwing error by the Utica catcher.
Big Walnut grad Joe Curran then smacked a double to left center field to score Whetro, and Olentangy grad Kenny McCambridge singled to right to bring Curran home.
The Royals got a run back in the third with a hit batsman, passed ball, single and fielder’s choice, but Ashley eventually got that tally back in the fifth, when Jonathan Alder grad Adam Collier reached on an infield single, took second on a single by Veach, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a delayed double steal.
Utica tied the score in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly, a ground out and a single, but Ashley picked up the go ahead run in the bottom half as Townley drew a leadoff walk, stole second base, took third on a balk and scored on an RBI single to center by Olentangy grad Chad Nugen.
Collier came on to work the seventh inning, and, after a leadoff walk, struck out two of the next three batters for the save.
McCambridge started and worked three innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits, one walk and one hit batsman with two strikeouts. Buckeye Valley grad Marcus Caplin worked the next two and received the win, allowing two earned runs, two hits and three walks. Both McCambridge and Caplin also picked off a runner each.
Townley relieved in the sixth and gave up one earned run on two hits. Collier allowed nothing but his walk in the seventh.
Ashley had three batters with two hits and one RBI apiece, Veach with his homer and single, Curran with a double and single and Nugen with a pair of singles.
Townley also added his home run and one RBI, Leonard his first-inning RBI double and McCambridge his second-inning run-scoring single. Waterwash, Collier and Whetro also added a single apiece.
Korey Shackle took the loss in relief for Utica, allowing two runs, including the go-ahead tally in the sixth. Ethan Abell worked the first four inning, and also topped the Royals hitters with two of their seven singles in the game.