Grizzlies earn historic win


When the referee raised the massive right arm of Ashland heavyweight Joe Hatch, it represented more than his dramatic final-round pin over Klamath Union's Sam Moore.

And to see the proof, one needed only to look to the sideline, where Ashland coach Bill Bowers, smiling ear to ear, became a high-fiving machine amongst the whooping Grizzlies.

Hatch overpowered Moore 40 seconds into the third round of a wild back-and-forth match, clinching for the Grizzlies their first dual meet victory since the program returned from a four-year hiatus in 2006 Thursday night at the Eagle Point High School gym.

The pin was one of four on the day for the Grizzlies, who overcame an early 18-0 deficit to beat the Pelicans 40-33 in a three-way Southern Sky Conference dual that also included the host team, Eagle Point. The Eagles trounced Ashland 68-12 in the late match, but the Grizzlies were happy to leave with at least one victory, and a history-making one at that.

"That felt so good," Bowers said. "The seniors on the team, that was their only request, to get a dual win this year so here we go. We got it."

Pins by Jake Scarminach at 145, Josh Scarminach at 171 and Julian Ewald at 189 gave the Grizzlies a 34-27 lead, but a forfeit at 215 whittled that cushion to a single point, 34-33, heading into the heavyweight bout.

"I get really nervous before a match, but once I step on the mat I'm just thinking, 'Just take it easy, do what I know and go from there," Hatch said.

The action was fierce early on, especially for a heavyweight match, with Hatch earning two near falls to take a 9-6 lead into Round 2. Moore reclaimed the momentum early in Round 2 before Hatch's takedown with seconds to go gave him a 13-12 lead heading into the final stanza. There, a quick escape by Moore knotted the wrestlers at 13-all, but Hatch put Moore on his back only seconds later and his pin at 1:20 sent the Grizzlies into a frenzy.

"Joe doesn't quit, you saw that," Bowers said. "That's the thing about Joe. You can't count him out because he's going to get you in the last seconds if that's what he has to do, and that's what he did tonight."

Ashland's prospects did not look good early on, especially after T.J. Murphy let a 7-2 third-round lead slip away in an overtime loss to Colt Alaniz. A reversal with 25 seconds left in regulation led to a near fall that sent the match into extra time. There, Alaniz earned a takedown with 10 seconds to go to finish the come-from-behind win.

Jake Scarminach kicked off Ashland's resurgence with one of the most dominating efforts of the night, a pin that required just — minute, 9 seconds.

"That's really what got the ball rolling," Bowers said.

Josh Scarminach, Jake's brother, was equally impressive in his win, a first-round pin of Nate Young. That was followed by the quickest match of the evening, Ewald's pin of Mitch Doing at the 1:09 mark of the first round.

The Grizzlies also got a strong performance out of Issa Shahin, who rolled to a 14-3 decision over Chris Endacott at 160.

"We're just becoming a team, that's what this is about," Bowers said. "People are starting to feel good about wrestling and the bottom line is, they know that if they work hard they're eventually going to start winning matches and that's what's just starting to happen at Ashland."

Eagle Point 68, Ashland 12

103 &

Glenn Brammer, EP, won by forfeit; 112 &

Ben Zomerdyk, EP, won by forfeit; 119 &

Trent Kaiser, EP, Cody Remington, tech fall, 18-2; *125 &

Kevin Leonardo, EP, pinned Leu Silberstein, 3:05; 130 &

Gage Baumer, EP, pinned T.J. Murphy, :45.

135 &

Chris Wilson, EP, won by forfeit; 140 &

Matt Wilson, EP, pinned A.J. Adams, :30; 145 &

Brady Holland, EP, pinned Jake Skarminach, 4:56; 152 &

Tony Pinedo, EP, pinned Isia Harris, :40.

160 &

Steven Josephson, EP, dec. Issa Shahim, 19-5; 171 &

Robby Mannenbach, EP, dec. Josh Skarminach, 20-6; 189 &

Julian Elvald, A, pinned Luis Lucas, :26; 215 &

Jesse Watkins, EP, won by forfeit; 285 &

Joe Hatch, A, won by forfeit.

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