The last week of baseball for the Ashe County Huskies was a nail-biting one that included withstanding a strong comeback from Starmount to get a victory, but falling short in a comeback bid against Wilkes Central.
Ashe 7, Starmount 5
The Huskies jumped out to a 7-1 lead on Starmount, but had to hold on in the closing innings for the key conference victory.
Ashe scored two runs in the second inning before the Rams had even recorded an out. Matthew Hamilton started the frame with a single and Carter Calhoun drew a walk. Both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch. Thomas Sexton connected on an RBI single that scored both Hamilton and Calhoun.
Later in the inning, Joe Richardson hit a single to right field that scored Sexton to put Ashe ahead, 3-0.
Sawyer Davis got one of the runs back for the Rams with an RBI single in the top of the third.
Ashe piled on four more runs in the bottom half of the third. A sacrifice fly from Calhoun scored Hunter Barnes. Richardson knocked two more runs in with a line drive to right field. Finally, a double steal allowed for Michael Elliott to scamper home and put the seventh run on the board.
In the top of the fifth, the Rams got one run off the bat of Luke Shore. His double to left brought in a run to make the score 7-2.
Sophomore pitcher Joseph Lowder pitched six strong innings and handed the ball off to Hamilton to get the final three outs.
Things started off rough for the senior as he walked the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh. Davis reached on a fielder’s choice that brought one run in, but also got one out in the books.
With two on and one out, Ben Combs smacked a liner to center that brought in two more runs and would bring the tying run to the plate.
Hamilton was able to grind out a pair of outs, one on a slow roller and one on a pop-up to secure the victory.
Richardson ended the game with two hits and three RBI’s. Sexton had two hits and two runs scored and Lowder finished 2-for-4 at the plate. Hamilton scored two runs while Barnes, Elliott and Calhoun each crossed the plate once.
Lowder got the win tossing six innings of three-hit baseball with two runs and six strikeouts.
Cody Whitaker took the loss for the Rams allowing all seven runs in three innings with six hits and six walks.
Wilkes Central 8, Ashe 7
In Tuesday’s game against Wilkes Central, the Huskies were on the other end of a comeback, but fell just short in the final innings.
The Eagles had an 8-1 lead quickly off of Barnes who struggled with command in his first pitching outing. The junior made it through just two innings, surrendering eight earned runs on six walks and six hits.
Ashe started the comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning. Richardson connected on an RBI single that scored Hamilton. Next up, Alex Laws belted a single through the infield to score Sexton and make the score 8-3.
The rally continued when Bradley Richie reached on an error, allowing Richardson to score and moving Laws to third base.
Barnes ripped a double to right to score both Laws and Richie to get within two runs.
Next up, Lowder went to left with a hit that scored Barnes and brought the go-ahead run to the plate with two outs.
Unfortunately, Hamilton popped out to short stop to end the fifth.
In the final two innings, Wilkes Central sent standout pitcher Austin Staley to the mound to close out the game. Staley, an N.C. State Wolfpack signee, struck out three Ashe hitters and got three groundouts in the final two innings to get the save.
Richardson led the way with two runs scored and Barnes led the team with two runs knocked in. Laws, Richie and Lowder each added an RBI.
Next up, the Huskies (6-9 overall, 4-7 MVAC) will host East Wilkes on Friday night. This will also mark Senior Night for seven senior players. Matthew Hamilton, Jackson Sloan, Joe Richardson, Alex Laws, Zach May, Evan Walker and Michael Elliott will play in their final home game.
*Nathan Ham can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @NathanHam87