Their best foot forward

MEDFORD — The Ashland Grizzlies were still smarting from an oh-for trip to Arizona heading into Wednesday's game against Cascade Christian.

It's safe to say that the Grizzlies are feeling a little better today.

Carter Glick rediscovered his command of the strike zone and Eric Carlson and Bryce Rogan went off at the plate as Ashland earned its first win of the season, 15-6, in nonleague baseball action at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

"I think the motivation from losing all three games in Arizona kind of kicked in today," Glick said.

Glick struggled in a season-opening loss to Chatfield, Colo., last week, but he was dialed in Wednesday. The right-handed senior struck out two and walked one in three scoreless innings.

Glick had plenty of support thanks to Carlson and Rogan, who had four hits apiece. Carlson, who batted .500 in Arizona, was 4-for-4 Wednesday with two doubles, a triple and six RBIs, while Rogan made the most of his return to the top of the batting order by going 4-for-6 with a double, a triple, two RBIs and four runs scored.

Carlson was hot already but enjoyed a career day against the Challengers. The senior third baseman roped an RBI triple into the right-center field gap in the third to increase Ashland's lead to 4-0, then launched an RBI double off the wall in left in the fourth — missing a home run and the cycle by a few feet — to make it 6-0. He also flashed his defensive prowess in the fifth, backhanding a dribbler on the run and whipping the ball across his body for a highlight-reel putout.

After the onslaught, Carlson said focus is the key for the Grizzlies.

"Arizona definitely took a toll on us," he said, "but we learned our lesson down there and we learned that we need to stay composed the entire game."

Ashland (1-3) is still learning that lesson on defense, where it committed another four errors to bring its season total to 16. The Grizzlies kept the damage to a minimum, however, by turning a key 6-4-3 double play in the first inning and jumping out to a 7-0 lead.

That fast start allowed Glick to move behind the plate for the last four innings. Before that, he regained a little mojo by striking out the first two batters he faced in the third. That included a nasty curve that froze Dalton Palmer for a knee-buckling strike three.

"I was coming off a tough loss and wanted to prove myself," Glick said.

"(Glick) had more confidence today with all his pitches," Ashland coach John Wallace said. "He located down more. He was just kind of leaving balls up (in Arizona) and they got to him there. Today, he was going right after guys and that made a huge difference."

Rogan's return to the leadoff spot he held last season also made a huge difference. The senior center-fielder, who bats lefty, opened the game with a single up the middle to ignite Ashland's three-run first, added a two-run triple to deep left-center in the fifth and laced a double down the first-base line in the seventh.

"I might keep him there for a little bit," Wallace said.

Cascade Christian (4-2) tried to make a game of it, scoring two in the fourth and three in the fifth to get within 11-5, but Rogan, pitching, got Palmer to chase a high fastball and pop out with the bases loaded to squelch the fifth-inning spark before it erupted into a full-blown wildfire. The Grizzlies then tacked on two more in the sixth, one on Carlson's bases-loaded walk.

Cascade Christian leadoff hitter Kyle Ferguson went 3-for-5 with a double and a triple to lead the Challengers. He also got the start on the mound but had less success there, surrendering seven runs, all earned, on five hits in 31/3 innings.

"I could tell we were ready to go," Wallace said, "and it was a point of emphasis to get on (Cascade Christian) right from the start. We gotta show up ready to play from pitch one, from inning one. That was important."

Ashland 302 242 2 — 15 11 4

Cascade Christian 000 230 1 — 6 5 1

Glick, Hulick (4), Rogan (5), Milgram (6), Fredrickson (7) and Hamik, Glick (4); Ferguson, Clark (4), Coggins (6), Higday (7) and Jones. W — Glick (1-1). L — Ferguson. 2B — A: Carlson 2, Rogan, Sanderson; CC: Clark, Ferguson. 3B — A: Rogan, Carlson; CC: Ferguson.

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