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David Walsh: Ohio, Kentucky baseball, softball not yet finished

Jun. 02, 2013 @ 11:15 PM

High school baseball and softball seasons may be finished in West Virginia, but that's not the case in Kentucky and Ohio.

Ashland's baseball team has qualified for the State Tournament scheduled Monday through Saturday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Ky. Ashland's softball team is bound for the State Tournament scheduled Thursday through Saturday at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro, Ky. Wheelersburg's baseball team is going back to the Ohio Division III State Tournament scheduled Thursday through Saturday at Huntington Park in Columbus.

In baseball, the Ashland Tomcats earned the trip with a 9-4 win over Greenup County in the 16th Region title game Wednesday at Ashland's Alumni Field. It's their second straight regional crown.

Four games each are scheduled Monday and Tuesday. Ashland will meet Region 6 champ Pleasure Ridge Park at 11 a.m. The winner will face the winner of St. Xavier/Logan County in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Thursday. Semifinal games are Friday and the championship game is Saturday at 7 p.m.

In earlier regional games, Ashland (26-9) edged both Lewis County 1-0 in nine innings and Rowan County 1-0. Tomcats pitcher/outfielder Logan Salow was voted the Most Valuable Player. He struck out 18 batters in eight shutout innings on Monday, fired a run-saving throw from center field to home plate on Tuesday and collected three hits and stole two bases on Wednesday.

In softball, Ashland punched its ticket with a 6-0 win over Russell in the 16th Region finale Thursday at East Carter Middle School in Grayson, Ky. It's the fifth straight regional crown for the Kittens (25-9). They will play Region 15 champ Magoffin County on Thursday at 7 p.m.

In the championship game, McKenzie Vanover went 4-for-4, including two home runs to give her 15 for the season. She had been hitless in six at-bats in two earlier games against Russell. She had a big three-run homer in a first-round win over West Carter and her RBI total for the season is 56.

Pitcher Megan Hensley tossed the shutout for her third tournament win. The sophomore gave up four hits and fanned 11. In the three games, she racked up 41 strikeouts and tossed a no-hitter in the win over Greenup County.

In Ohio baseball, Wheelersburg blanked West Lafayette Ridgewood, 4-0, in the regional title game last Friday at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe. Sophomore pitcher Wade Martin escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first and survived a 72-minute rain delay in the sixth to secure a school-record fourth straight regional title. The Pirates (27-4) will take on Youngstown Ursuline in one semifinal Thursday at 10 a.m.

As a freshman, Martin was two outs away from tossing a perfect game in the 2012 state title game against Lima Central Catholic. He finished with a one-hitter and the Pirates won, 1-0. In the regional final, Martin (9-0) struck out 13, walked one and gave up just four hits.

For the Pirates, this is their fifth trip to the state in the past six years. For the seniors, it means they've made it to Columbus all four years.

WHAT A YEAR: Cabell Midland won Mountain State Athletic Conference championships in football, boys cross country, softball and baseball.

With the Knights making the West Virginia High School Baseball Tournament in Charleston, the school had 11 teams (out of 19 sports) playing in state tournaments. Sports were football, boys and girls cross country (boys won Class AAA), volleyball, wrestling, boys and girls swimming, boys and girls track and baseball. Thanks to AD Jack DeFazio for that scoop.

David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald-dispatch.com.

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