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Carroll's blast helps Grizzlies right ship in Arizona

Jesse Carroll’s three-run homer in the first inning set the tone for the Ashland High baseball team, which continued its early-season scoring binge with a 12-7 victory over Meridian High of Idaho in the second day of the Greenway Festival, Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona.

Carroll, who was 3-for-3 with four RBIs, turned on an 0-2 pitch to give the Grizzlies a 3-2 lead and seize back the momentum after the Warriors scored two in their half. Ashland poured it on from there, finishing with 15 hits to keep its hot bats sizzling.

“One of the things we’ve talked about is still being aggressive even when you get down 0-2 and taking advantage of mistakes,” Ashland assistant coach Nick Hall said, “and (Carroll) did a great job of handling a hanging curve ball. He stayed back on it and put a really aggressive swing on it.”

Through four games - all wins - the Grizzlies have scored 40 runs.

Cleanup hitter Nick Sanderson was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Ashland also received a huge lift from the bottom of its batting order as Aaron Scott, Kellar Edwards and Shea Scott combined for seven hits and four RBIs. Aaron Scott was 2-for-2 with a double, Edwards 3-for-3 with three RBIs and Shea Scott 2-for-2.

“It’s funny because I have a difficult time writing the lineup card every day because I don’t really feel like we have bottom-of-the-order hitters,” Hall said. “None of those guys make sense to put down there, and when you have Aaron Scott seventh in the lineup it almost turns over at that point.”

Also for Ashland, Caleb Bell reached base three times – all on walks – and scored twice, and leadoff hitter TarQuin Daley drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and also had a sac bunt, a single and scored once.

The Grizzlies successfully executed four sacrifice bunts.

Ashland starter Peyton Fuller, who picked up the win, allowed five earned runs on eight hits in four innings, striking out four before giving way to Chris Buckley. Buckley and Edwards held the Warriors to two runs, one earned, on four hits over the last three innings to preserve the victory.

Meridian leadoff hitter Jack Borton, who was 3-for-5 and finished a single short from hitting for the cycle, started the game with a triple and crushed a three-run homer in the fourth to cut Ashland’s lead to 7-5. The Warriors scored again on an error in the fifth to get within a run of the Grizzlies.

Ashland responded by scoring four runs on three hits and three walks in the bottom of the inning, including run-scoring singles by Edwards and Carroll.

Shea Scott singled home an insurance run in the seventh.

The Grizzlies wrap up their Arizona road trip today against Saint Viator of Illinois. Hall said either Carroll or Bell will start on the mound.

Meridian;200;311;0;—;7;12;2

Ashland;313;041;x;—;12;15;3

Langlamp, Sargent (4), Simons (5) and Kraft; Fuller, Buckley (5). Edwards (7) and Hamik. W — Fuller. L — Langlamp. 2B — M: Dibben, Borton; A: Scott. HR — M: Borton; A: Carroll.

College Softball

Southern Oregon University shot up to No. 16 in the first NAIA Top 25 coaches' poll of the regular season, the highest ranking in program history.

The Raiders jumped from "receiving votes" to just behind No. 15 Morningside and one spot ahead of Dickinson State, which was ranked 12th in the preseason poll.

Auburn Montgomery of Alabama received 14 of 18 first-place votes and is ranked No. 1, ahead of No. 2 Oklahoma City and No. 3 Saint Xavier.

The Raiders are the highest-ranked team from the Cascade Conference after Corban dropped from 17th to 23rd and Oregon Tech fell completely out of the Top 25 after starting the season No. 3.

Southern Oregon (15-7, 3-1 CCC) is scheduled to play a doubleheader against Corban today on a neutral field in Clackamas. The Raiders' first home games are Friday against Northwest.