HHS outduels Greenup
HUNTINGTON — Good teams make few mistakes on the baseball field.
Very good teams know how to respond when they make mistakes on the diamond.
Huntington High showed that it is playing at a high level on Friday night, answering its own two-run mistake by getting a pair of insurance runs back for pitcher Chase Ashworth, who was dominant in the Highlanders’ 5-2 win over Greenup County.
“It was a heck of a job by Chase,” Huntington High coach Danny Harbert said. “He’s a gamer and he’s going to help us out a lot this season by coming in, locating his pitches. His curve ball was working really well tonight. He did a good job of throwing strikes.”
Ashworth was cruising along in the sixth inning and had allowed just two hits until the game got a bit interesting with one Highlander mistake in the field.
A harmless pop fly on the infield turned out to be anything but harmless as third baseman Jack Brunetti and shortstop Joey Mundy came together to field it. The result was the ball falling off Brunetti’s glove and to the turf, giving Greenup County new life.
One pitch later, Greenup County’s J.B. Brown connected on Ashworth’s lone mistake of the day — an inside fastball that Brown took over the right-field fence to bring the Musketeers within 3-2.
As quickly as momentum changed, however, the Highlanders seized it right back.
Connor Barebo led off the bottom of the sixth with a deep double to left field and later scored on Ben Gibson’s single following a sacrifice bunt by Brice Leep.
Brunetti later atoned for his mistake in the field by sending a two-out RBI double to right-center to score Gibson and restore the three-run lead after Nathan Booth had also moved Gibson into scoring position with a sacrifice.
“Connor Barebo is our fire-starter,” Harbert said. “He got us started against Midland running the bases and he started us off in that inning pretty well. We got some bunts down, got some momentum and that really helped out in that sixth inning.”
The run support was all Ashworth needed on the evening as he capped the game with a pair of strikeouts to end the complete-game three-hit effort in which he did not allow an earned run.
Ashworth mixed up his pitches well and kept Greenup County’s hitters from being aggressive at the plate. He forced 15 groundouts in the contest.
“We set the tone with his pitching and our defense,” Harbert said. “There were a couple of times that he got down to hitters 3-0 and he came back, threw strikes and let our defense go to work.”
Huntington High only had five hits in the contest, but they were all timely as the Highlanders jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings.
After Greenup County starter Ethan Coldiron loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a hit batsmen with no outs in the first, Huntington High’s Stephen Holland made him pay with a two-run single to get the Highlanders on the board.
Coldiron also loaded the bases on three walks in the second inning and Joey Mundy sent a fly ball to left field to score pinch-runner Ridge Hickman after Gibson had walked.
“We didn’t have bad at-bats — no strikeouts or anyone caught looking,” Harbert said. “I thought we did a good job at the plate. We were patient. We just have to go to work and not take anything for granted.”
With the win, the Highlanders improve to 9-3 on the season and avenge a 1-0 loss to Greenup County earlier this season.
GREENUP COUNTY 000 002 0 — 2 3 0
HUNTINGTON HIGH 210 002 x — 5 5 1
Coldiron, Glancy (2) and Brown. Ashworth and Fulks. Hitting: (GC) Brown HR, 2 RBI; Morris 2B. (HH) Brunetti 2B, RBI; Holland 2 RBI; Barebo 2B; Gibson RBI.
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