It takes a while to get going early in a season. The Ashley American Legion Post 518 baseball team knows that first-hand.
Two big innings early on helped spur the Licking County Athletics/St. Louisville Post 804 baseball club to a 12-0, five-inning victory in Post 518’s home opener at Oxford Township Park.
Ashley (0-2) had trouble getting the third out in the opening inning. Licking County (2-0) had runners at first and third with two outs in the opening inning, but scored four times after that on three clutch base hits in a row.
The Athletics added five more in the second inning, getting four more hits in the frame plus a pair of Ashley errors.
Post 518 threatened early on. Olentangy grad Kenny McCambridge struck out but reached first on a wild pitch, and Big Walnut grad Joe Curran walked.
Liberty grad Jimmy Waterwash sacrificed both runners ahead one base, and Buckeye Valley’s Kyle Whetro drew a two-out walk to load the bases, but all were stranded after a fly out ended the inning.
Ashley tried again in the second when Olentangy grad Chris Binkley reached on a bad hop single over third base and McCambridge rapped a two-out single through the left side, but again, both were left on after a ground out.
Ashley tried again in the fourth when Olentangy grad Chad Nugen drew a one-out single and took second on a throwing error by the Licking County catcher trying a pick off, but a strikeout and fly ball ended their last threat.
The Athletics put the lead at double digits in the fifth when Cole Benner hit a three-run home run to left center. Ashley went in order in the fifth, invoking the run rule.
McCambridge, making his first appearance with Post 518, took the loss, allowing eight earned runs, eight hits and three walks in two innings. Buckeye Valley grad Marcus Caplin pitched the final two innings, giving up two earned runs, three hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
McCambridge and Binkley’s second-inning singles were the only two Ashley hits of the game.
Benner was 2 for 3 with his homer, an RBI triple in the second, and four RBIs. Kyle Vaubel finished 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles, a single and three RBIs, also making five putouts in right field.
Josh Hoar got the win, surrendering the two hits, walking two and striking out three.