Up, up and away

Orville Hector | Daily TidingsAshland High senior Owen Baldrica leaps over Crater catcher Zach Boskovich at home plate in the first inning of Game — Tuesday at North Mountain Park. Baldrica was called out, but the Grizzlies swept the Comets 8-2 and 4-3.

With the game-winning run at second base, Lewis Sebrell was ready to swing at anything. Then he remembered the advice of the wise one, Ashland's longtime assistant coach John Schroeder.

"I swung at a couple pitches in the dirt today and (Schroeder) said, 'You've got to take more pitches,'" Sebrell said. "He said, 'The more you see, the better you'll be.'"

And better he was.

Ashland's junior catcher made Crater pay for an intentional walk issued to Max Gordon by delivering the game-winning hit Tuesday, clinching a sweep for the Grizzlies at North Mountain Park.

Moments after Gordon was walked to put runners at first and second with one out, Sebrell lined Craig Kathol's 1-0 pitch into the gap in right-center, easily scoring Hayden Miller from second and securing Ashland's 4-3 victory.

The win, along with Ashland's 8-2 rout in the opener, gives the Grizzlies (17-2, 10-0 SSC) a comfortable four-game cushion over Crater (14-8, 8-4) in the conference standings. That all but clinches the SSC league championship for the Grizzlies, who have six games left on their regular season schedule before hosting a Class 5A playoff game May 20.

"It's big because we always want to beat Crater, and it does give us a little distance between us and them," Ashland head coach Don Senestraro said.

Tyler Killeen was credited with the win in Game 2 after Sam Gaviglio started for Ashland and gave up three runs in six innings. Killeen earned it. The senior lefty turned a comebacker into a double play to escape a two-on, one-out jam in the top of the seventh, then came through with a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the inning.

That brought up Gordon, Ashland's leadoff hitter, who went 3-for-3 with a double against Kathol after going 2-for-4 with four RBIs in Game 1.

"Not a real tough decision," Crater coach Jay Campbell said. "(Gordon) had been hitting the ball well and we had a base open so we were just trying to set up the double play."

Enter Sebrell, who flied out to center after swinging at the first pitch in his previous at bat. This time, he took a change-up in the dirt, then jumped all over a pitch that Kathol left high in the strike zone.

"I took it as a slap to the face and I think that really helped me surge my hit," Sebrell said.

Sebrell was 5-for-7 with three doubles on the day, including 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs in Game 2.

Jordan Higby (2-for-3) was the only Comet with multiple hits in Game 2, although Bryce Peila tied the game with a solo home run off Gaviglio in the fifth.

Kathol allowed three earned runs on eight hits while going the distance. He held sixth-ranked Ashland to its lowest run output since March 26.

In the first game, Crater struck first by scoring two runs on one hit in the first inning off Ashland starter Charlie Sebrell. Ashland cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning then broke the game open in the second. There, Gordon's two-run double highlighted a four-run burst that also included RBI singles by Lewis Sebrell and Owen Baldrica.

"It was good to see some close games to see what we could do under pressure," Gordon said.

The Grizzlies handled that pressure well in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded, Gaviglio relieved Charlie Sebrell and got Kos Ray to ground into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.

"That really was a momentum-breaker," Campbell said.

The Grizzlies put the game away in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs on RBI hits by Gordon and Lewis Sebrell, and another on a Crater throwing error.

After his subpar first inning, Charlie Sebrell retired 13 of the next 15 batters to earn the win. He gave up four hits and two earned runs in 5 1-3 innings.

Bruce Sanford went the distance for Crater, allowing six earned runs while striking out five and walking one.

For Ashland, Baldrica went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Luke Jannusch went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.

"Everyone's flying high right now," Senestraro said. "They won the game with some good fundamental plays that we preach all the time, which is good for us. They see that that stuff works."


Crater 200 000 0 &

2 6 2

Ashland 140 003 x "" 8 11 0

C. Sebrell, Gaviglio (5) and L. Sebrell; Sanford and Boskovich. W - C. Sebrell. L &

Sanford. 2B &

C: Boskovich; A: Gordon, L. Sebrell, Jannusch. 3B &

A: Baldrica.


Crater 002 010 0 "" — 7 1

Ashland 111 000 — "" 4 8 1

Kathol and Boskovich; Gaviglio, Killeen (6) and L. Sebrell. W - Killeen. L - Kathol. 2B &

C: Higby; A: Gordon, L. Sebrell 2. HR &

C: Peila.

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.

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