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SHALLOTTE—Errors in the early innings hurt the cause, and, ironically, the grandson of the Shallotte mayor went the distance for the visitors as Ashley High School defeated West Brunswick 7-3 Friday night.
“We’re just making too many errors,” said West coach Mike Alderson. “We’re not focused. Going into the season, I thought defense would be our strong suit, but it’s been our Achilles heel. In the three games that we’ve lost, we beat ourselves.”
Ashley scored three unearned runs in the second inning Friday. A dropped catch and a bobbled grounder let two runners get on before Trey Euverard's single to right field and Andrew Kelley’s slow grounder led to two runs. The Eagles’ third run scored on a wild pitch.
“When you make mental mistakes, you start making physical mistakes,” Alderson said. “Hitting is contagious, winning is contagious, and errors are contagious.”
Ashley added another run in the fourth when Zack Mishoe led off with a blooper to left field, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and came home on clean-up hitter Caleb Long’s line drive to right field.
Long, the grandson of Shallotte mayor Gerald Long, was also the winning pitcher. He allowed just four hits in seven innings for his second win in as many starts.
“Caleb showed a lot of grit and gutted it out for all seven innings,” said Ashley coach Brian Stewart.
“We were definitely able to capitalize on their errors, and we got some timely hits. Our kids stepped up to the challenge. They understand that you’ve got to come out of the gate with your best.”
West answered with a run in the third after Evan Ponds got hit by a pitch, Seth Roberts walked and Ryan Hill laid a perfect bunt down the first base line to advance runners to second and third. Ponds slid into home to score on a passed ball and cut the lead to 4-1.
But Ashley scored three more runs in the fourth. Trey Euverard started the rally when he drilled a ball that ricocheted off West pitcher Aaron Evans’ leg. After stealing second, Euverard scored on designated hitter Kelvin Freeman’s RBI single.
Andrew Kelley then hit Ashley’s third consecutive single, and West brought in Alex Memory to pitch. Trevor Kelley’s infield single loaded the bases with no outs. Two infield throwing errors let Freeman and Andrew Kelly score before West turned a double play to get out of the inning.
“I think our overall pitching’s been very good,” Alderson said. “Aaron was throwing the ball well, but when errors forced him to stay out there longer, he got frustrated.”
Despite falling behind 7-1, the Trojans didn’t fold.
“This bunch has never quit in the last two years,” Alderson said.
Designated hitter Zach Spivey got West's first hit of the game in the fourth inning, but the Trojans stranded runners on second and third. West added a run in the fifth after Hill walked, Pat Kamfolt drilled a line drive to left field for a single, Joey Granados was hit by a pitch and Wally Kamfolt singled for the RBI.
Brock Holmes came in to pitch for West in the sixth. None of West’s three pitchers allowed an extra base hit.
The Trojans notched their last run in their half of the inning when Logan Tripp burned Ashley's right fielder for a double, went to third a wild pitch and came home on Seth Roberts' sacrifice.
West is 1-1 in the Mideastern 3A/4A Conference and 4-3 overall. Ashley is 1-0 in the conference and 4-1 overall.
Ab r h bi
Mishoe 2b 4 1 2 0
LaRose lf 4 0 0 0
Poston 3b 4 0 1 0
Long p 3 1 1 1
Bridges c 4 1 1 0
Euverard cf 4 2 2 1
Freeman dh 4 1 1 0
A. Kelley 1b 2 1 1 1
T. Kelley ss 2 0 1 0
Totals 31 7 10 3
Ab r h bi
Hill cf 2 1 0 0
P. Kamfolt ss 4 0 1 0
Granados lf 3 0 0 0
Powell c 3 0 0 0
W. Kamfolt 2b 3 0 1 1
Spivey dh 3 0 1 0
Tripp 1b 2 1 1 0
Ponds 3b 2 1 0 0
Roberts rf 1 0 0 1
Turner c 1 0 0 0
Totals 24 3 4 2
Ashley 031 300 0—7 10 2
W. Bruns. 001 011 0—3 4 4
LOB—Ashley 8, West Brunswick 7. 2B—Tripp (WB).
IP H R ER SO BB
Long 7 4 3 1 7 2
Evans 3 7 7 2 2 0
Memory 2 1 0 0 2 1
Holmes 2 2 0 0 2 0