With the game knotted at six after Mooresville rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh, Donovan Francis smacked a double to left-center to lead off the bottom of the inning and scored on a throwing error as Ashley grabbed a 7-6 walk off win to clinch third place at the spring break tournament on Thursday.
Lee Fentress went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and D.C. Russ ripped a two-run extra base hit to pace the Screaming Eagles’ lineup. Drake Overton also overcame a shaky second frame and closed a six-plus inning performance with a no decision after allowing six runs on five hits, with five strikeouts.
“It was definitely an ugly game defensively on both sides, but I’m proud of the way our guys hung in there and battled,” said Ashley Coach Brian Stewart. “It was good to see a couple of guys, D.C. [Russ], Lee [Fentress] and Donovan [Francis] square up some balls.”
Trailing by three after two innings of play, Ashley scored five unanswered runs until the Blue Devils tied the game in the seventh.
Mooresville scored four runs with two outs in the top of the second to take a 4-1 lead before the Screaming Eagles answered with four runs on two hits and two errors in the third.
With Ashley in front 1-0 after Fentress drove in Alex Highsmith in the first, a 3-6-1 double play erased a leadoff single for the Blue Devils, but Mark Miller and Sean Parlee followed with back-to-back base hits to start the rally and tied the game as Miller crossed the plate after advancing to second on a stolen base.
Parlee then moved to third on a pair of wild-pitches and Josh Armstrong walked to put runners on the corners. An Ashley miscue kept the inning alive, which allowed another run to come in and two more free passes in the frame gave the Blue Devils a three run advantage.
“It was Drake’s first start of the year and I think he did a heck of a job bouncing back after that tough second inning,” said Stewart. “He’s done a good job for us and we know that if we need an arm to start, he can do that for us.”
The Screaming Eagles used a pair of Mooresville miscues to put runners on with nobody out to spark the four-run third as Donovan Francis was hit by pitch to load the bases. A single by Fentress scored two and Russ drilled a 0-2 pitch into the gap in left-center to give Ashley a 5-4 edge.
The doubles by Russ and Francis were just the third and fourth extra base hits of the season for the Screaming Eagles.
“We’ve struggled to hit the ball early in the season, but I think we’re starting to come around offensively and now it’s just about putting it all together as we get ready for the midseason push in conference.”
Highsmith added an insurance run in the fourth on an RBI ground out, scoring Kyle Stewart, who reached with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a bunt hit by Evan Laverick.
Mooresville committed five errors in the ballgame.
Ashley got back in the win column to improve to 7-4 on the year heading back into Mideastern Conference play at Hoggard on Tuesday, April 7.
Box score R H E
Mooresville 040 000 2 6 6 5
Ashley 104 100 1 7 6 2