Thurston rallied to force extra innings then broke loose for four runs in the 10th to deal Ashland another painful Midwestern League setback, 8-4, in prep baseball action Tuesday at North Mountain Park.
The visiting Colts trailed 4-2 with two outs and one on in the top of the seventh when Preston Fisher reached on an infield single. Moments later, Kyle Chapman smacked Peyton Fuller’s 1-2 offering to right for a two-run double, tying the game.
Ashland loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but Thurston starter Cade Bates induced a grounder to first by Fuller, sending the game into extras.
Both teams blew chances to drive in runners in scoring position in the ninth, but in the 10th Thurston took advantage of three Grizzly miscues, as three of the Colts’ four runs that inning were unearned.
Ashland committed seven errors in all, leading to six unearned runs.
The loss may end up being a costly one for the Grizzlies (13-9, 10-9 MWL), who are one game behind fourth-place Eagle Point in the league standings with two games remaining on both teams’ Midwestern League schedule. The MWL’s fourth-place team will host a Class 5A play-in game May 19, while the league’s fifth-place finisher must travel for the play-in round.
The mistakes on defense wasted another sensational outing by Fuller, who surrendered one earned run on six hits while striking out nine with two walks in seven innings of work. Evan McLennan took over for the Grizzlies in the eighth and gave up four runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out one.
Bates allowed four earned runs on seven hits in seven innings before Thurston (16-8, 12-7) went to its bullpen in the eighth. The Colts wound up using three relievers in the eighth, ninth and 10th, and Andrew Ward, Luke Thoreson and Fisher combined to blank the Grizzlies on two hits.
Ashland slugger Nick Sanderson blasted a solo home run to right-center with two outs in the third to tie the game at 2, and the Grizzlies took a 4-2 lead in the sixth when Matt O’Donnell came through with a clutch two-run single to left with two down.
Kellar Edwards and Sanderson had two hits apiece for the Grizzlies, who wrap up their MWL schedule Saturday in Eugene against the Colts.
Thurston;002 000 200 4—8 11 1
Ashland;101 002 000 0—4 9 7
Bates, Ward (8), Thoreson (9), Fisher (10) and Burke; Fuller, E. McLennan (8). W — Fisher. L — E. McLennan. 2B — T: Chapman; A: E. McLennan. HR — A: Sanderson.
Joe Zavala is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 541-821-0829 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Joe_Zavala99.