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February 14, 2013

UTICA — Ashley American Legion Post 518’s baseball team started with a flourish, but had trouble getting runners home in the latter stages of this weekend’s Utica Post 92 Baseball Tournament.

Ashley (2-6) won its opener Saturday afternoon, but dropped its final three games en route to a 1-3 mark in the tournament. Post 518 finished tied for fourth with Worthington Post 239, while Galion/Mansfield Post 16 and the hosts from Utica tied for the top at 3-1. Prospect finished at 2-2.

Prospect 6, Ashley 1

Ashley took the early lead, but a four-run fourth inning propelled Prospect to the victory in Sunday’s first game at Mount Vernon High School.

Ashley got its run on the first two pitches of the game, as Gahanna Christian grad Drew Martindale tripled to right center and Liberty grad Blake Hampshire singled him home. But Post 518 left seven runners stranded in the next three innings and nine total in the game.

Prospect got the run back in the first and added the go-ahead run in the third before the four-run outburst in the fourth, three coming on a three-run error.

Olentangy’s Griffin Binkley suffered the loss, allowing two runs and six hits in 2 1/3 inning with one strikeout. Former Brave Chad Nugen allowed one earned in 3 2/3 innings of relief, giving up five hits and a walk with three strikeouts.

Hampshire finished 2 for 3 with a pair of singles and the RBI for Ashley. Martindale added his triple, Buckeye Valley’s Kyle Whetro hit a double, and Jonathan Alder grad Adam Collier, Olentangy grad Sean Leonard and Big Walnut grad Joe Curran had singles.

Worthington 9, Ashley 6

Post 518 watched a five-run lead vanish and dropped their final game of the tournament to Post 239 Sunday in Utica.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Post 518 scored five times on a two-run single by Big Walnut grad Chad Townley, a bases-loaded walk to Hampshire and a two-run double from Olentangy grad Sean Leonard.

Worthington got one run back in the fifth, but scored six times in the sixth inning on four hits, a walk and three Ashley errors.

Hampshire got a run back in the bottom half, stroking a solo home run to right center field, his second of the season, but Post 239 scored two more unearned runs in the top of the seventh on a pair of sacrifice flies, then shut down Post 518 in the bottom half.

Townley suffered his first loss of the season with the result, despite allowing just one earned run and surrendering seven hits and four walks with a strikeout. Collier worked the final inning and a third, giving up the two unearned runs on two hits with a strikeout.

Townley helped his cause all day, going 3 for 3 with three singles, two RBIs and two stolen bases. Buckeye Valley’s A.J. Veach added two hits, including a double, and scored once. Hampshire’s homer and Leonard’s double were their only hits of the game.

Ashley 7, Galion/Mansfield 3

Post 518 scored six runs combined in the second, third and fourth innings to defeat Galion/Mansfield Post 16 in the first game Saturday at Utica.

Olentangy’s Griffin Binkley had an RBI single in the second to score Big Walnut grad Chad Townley, and Liberty grad Blake Hampshire blasted a two-run homer to right-center field in the third to put Ashley up for good.

Post 518 then scored three times in the fourth. Gahanna Christian grad Josh Badal walked, stole second, took third on an infield hit by Binkley and scored on a double steal that allowed Binkley to take third.

Olentangy grad Chris Binkley doubled home his younger brother, and scored later on a bases-loaded walk to Jonathan Alder grad Adam Collier. Collier added the final Ashley run in the sixth, reaching on a fielder’s choice and scoring on a Townley double.

Collier also went the distance for Ashley, allowing just one earned run, eight hits and a walk while striking out five for the win. Townley and both Binkley brothers had two hits apiece, Townley and Chris Binkley each with a double and single, while Hampshire’s homer was Ashley only other hit.

Utica 1, Ashley 0

The hosts from Post 92 recorded back-to-back hits in the last of the seventh to score the only run of the game and defeat Post 518 in Saturday’s second game at Utica.

The game proved a pitcher’s duel throughout, with Liberty’s Christian Watson spinning a gem against Utica starter Nathan Chilcote, who also kept the Post 518 bats under control.

But the game turned in the final inning with two out. Utica’s Kenny Rucker slapped a base hit to left center, stole second on the first Watson offering to Post 92’s Riley Swanson, and scored when Swanson hit the next pitch through the left side of the infield for an RBI single.

Watson was sharp all the way through, but took the tough loss, allowing just the one run on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Chilcote won for Utica, going the full seven innings and allowing just three hits and four free passes while fanning seven.

Post 518 received just three singles on offense, one each from Collier, Chris Binkley and Liberty grad Jimmy Waterwash.