The baseball teams from Ashland and Malone put their noses to the grindstone on Saturday (Apr. 19) at Donges Field. By the time the afternoon was over, the grindstone was little more than sand.
This was a long, hard baseball game for both teams. The game featured 15 runs, 20 hits, 25 runners left on base, 16 walks, seven errors and seven pitchers. The Eagles were able to outlast the Pioneers, 8-7 and nab the final game in this three-game weekend series.
Ashland is 19-15 and 9-10 within the GLIAC. Malone is 17-22 and 12-12.
This game had two, one-two-three half innings. Both were produced by AU pitchers. In between those frames, the teams battled back and forth.
Ashland scored three times in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. The Pioneers scored twice in the top of the third and after three innings AU led, 4-2.
At the end of five innings, AU was in front, 8-6. At that point, the pitchers started to exert some control. Ashland's Alex Smith (5-4) did that better than any pitcher on this day. He pitched the final 5.1 innings. He allowed four runs - three earned - on five hits. However, over the final three innings, he didn't allow a run and permitted one hit.
AU started Cory Teachout. The rookie right-hander went 3.2 innings and allowed three runs - one earned - on five hits.
AU took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning. At that stage, the game was tied, 6-6. One run scored on an error and the other came in on third baseman Wade Kaido's sacrifice fly to left field. The rally came against Malone reliever Branden Carey (1-2), who took the loss.
Kaido was 2-for-2 with two RBI. He had one of AU's two extra base hits - a double.
Second baseman Stephen James was the other AU player with an extra base hit. He homered for the second consecutive day, leading off the fourth inning with a shot to right. That was his third homer of the year.
Both teams had 10 hits in the game. In addition to Kaido, the other AU player with more than one hit was designated hitter Kyle Brooks. He was 2-for-5.
Malone shortstop Kyler King was 3-for-5 with two RBI. Left fielder Hayden Mobley and center fielder Keanan Locke both went 2-for-5 and Locke doubled.
The Eagles will play five games at home this coming week. The first games in that stretch come on Wednesday (Apr. 23, 2 p.m.) when Findlay invades Donges Field for a doubleheader.