May 25, 2012
SPARTA — It wasn’t hard for the Ashley American Legion Post 518 baseball team to get started Saturday and Sunday in the 2011 Ohio Division 6 Tournament, but the team hit a wall on Wednesday.
Post 518 had trouble at the outset but rallied in the late going, only to fall to the Knox County Royals/Utica Post 92 11-5 in the Upper Bracket Championship game at Highland Community Park in Sparta.
Mistakes bit Ashley (12-12) in the posterior early on. A two-out hit, a balk call, a wild pitch and a throwing error allowed Utica (23-7-1) to take the early 1-0 lead, but things only worsened in the second.
Utica scored four times on a double, two singles, two walks and two sacrifice flies to push its advantage to 5-0. Three more runs in the fourth and the Royals held a intimidating 8-0 lead.
But Post 518 responded in the sixth. Kyle Whetro hit a leadoff single and went to second on a wild pitch. Kenny McCambridge followed with a walk, and both runners moved up on a passed ball.
Joe Curran then ripped a grounder through the left side of the infield to score Whetro, and after Curran stole second, Jimmy Waterwash hit a sacrifice fly to right to plate McCambridge. Sean Leonard then singled through the right side, allowing Curran to come home.
Utica kept the pressure on, adding two runs in the sixth, but Ashley negated that inning with a two-run seventh. A.J. Veach led off with a walk and took third when Blake Hampshire reached second on a two-base error by the Utica first baseman.
A lineout and strikeout followed, putting the pressure on Post 518 again, but McCambridge lined a two-out double to right center that scored both Veach and Hampshire.
But Utica clamped down after that. The Royals added a run in the bottom of the seventh then used its bullpen to shut down Ashley the rest of the way.
Marcus Caplin, the first of six Ashley pitchers in the game, was hit for the loss, allowing four earned runs, four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Christian Watson worked an inning and a third, giving up a hit and two walks while striking out one.
Chad Townley surrendered three runs on a hit and three walks with one strikeout in a third of an inning, while Chad Nugen pitched three innings, giving up three runs, five hits and a walk while fanning one. Josh Badal went a third of an inning and walked two, while Griffin Binkley pitched the last 1 1/3, walking two and striking out one.
Veach and Whetro had two hits apiece and McCambridge his double and two RBIs to lead Ashley’s offense. Curran, Leonard and Adam Collier also had a single apiece, with Curran, Leonard and Waterwash each driving in one run.
Kenny Rucker had three hits and one RBI while Ethan Abell had a pair of hits and two RBIs to lead Utica. Nathan Chilcote worked seven-plus innings, allowing just three earned runs, seven hits and four walks with three strikeouts to earn the win.
Ashley 18, London 2, 7 inn.
Post 518 fell behind in the opening inning, but never trailed after the second in their opening game rout of London Post 105 Saturday in Sparta.
Ashley scored a run in the bottom of the first to tie the game, then added three in the second before posting a 10-run third, essentially putting the game on ice.
Curran was 4 for 4 with a triple, double, two singles and three RBIs to lead Ashley. McCambridge was 3 for 3 with three singles, driving in three more runs. Collier added a triple, double and three RBIs, Waterwash a triple, single and one RBI, Leonard a double, single and two RBIs and Drew Martindale two singles and two more RBIs.
Caplin went five innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits with four strikeouts for the win. Watson pitched two shutout innings, walking three while fanning one.
Ashley 21, Johnstown 2, 7 inn.
Ashley left little doubt who controlled this game, posting 13 runs in the top half of the first en route to its blowout win over the Johnstown Post 254 Hawks in the second round Sunday in Sparta.
Ashley received early offense and a great deal of help from Johnstown. Hawks pitchers walked seven in the opening inning alone, including five in a row at one point, and the defense committed two errors to help Post 518.
But the Ashley offense also came up with six hits in that inning and blew the game open right off the bat.
Nugen worked the first three innings and allowed just one run on six hits with one strikeout. Whetro pitched the next two innings and earned the victory, giving up just one hit while striking out three. Hampshire worked the final two frames, giving up a run, a hit and a walk with one strikeout.
Leonard was 3 for 3 with a double, two singles and three RBIs, Waterwash had two singles and drove in three more runs, and Martindale had two more singles and two RBIs to lead the Ashley offense.
Ashley also lost their final game in the Buckeye Elite Tournament on Friday, losing a tight 12-11 decision to the Pittsburgh Crusaders 18U team.