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Grizzlies split MWL opener vs. Eagle Point

EAGLE POINT — Ashland and Eagle Point mimicked each other to open Midwestern League baseball Saturday, with each getting off to fast starts and then closing strong to secure a split in a tightly-contested doubleheader.

Ashland tallied three runs in the top of the first but needed a solo run in the seventh inning to slip past Eagle Point, 5-4, in the opener. The Eagles bounced back with four runs in the bottom of the first inning of Game 2 and gained two runs in the sixth inning for much-needed cushion in an 8-5 triumph.

“We’re both kind of young and finding our way and credit to those guys for coming to play Game 1,” said EP head coach Josh Leedy of the Grizzlies. “And for us, if you’re going to lose a game, I think the quality of a good team is being able to bounce back the way we did in Game 2 and executing the way we did.”

With the opener tied at 4-all, Ashland’s Cruz Drieling was hit by a pitch with two outs in the seventh inning. After a wild pitch moved him to second base, Nate Carter came through with a go-ahead RBI single. Carter finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs to support a complete-game effort by Eli Westrick, who struck out five and allowed six hits and two walks for Ashland (2-1, 1-1 MWL).

In Game 2, the Eagles got a leadoff double by Kolbi Blevins in the first inning and eventually used a two-run triple by Noah Page to spark their four-run surge.

“That was a big hit there to get us going, especially after losing the first game,” said Leedy of Page’s shot to right field. “The kids didn’t roll over and made a statement in the first inning, and that triple was a big deal.”

Blevins finished 3-for-4 with two runs, while Page was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI for Eagle Point.

FIRST GAME

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Eagle Point1012000—461

Westrick and Evans; Gaudern, Marsh (7) and Kendrick. W — Westrick. L — Marsh (0-1). 2B — A: Westrick, Carter; EP: Marsh, Gaudern. 3B — EP: Blevins.

SECOND GAME

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McLennan, Reynolds (3), Amann (6) and Evans, Dreiling (3); Fontana, Lund (5), Marsh (6) and Kendrick. W — Fontana (1-0). L — McLennan. 2B — EP: Leeper, Blevins 2. 3B — EP: Page.

Prep Softball

EAGLE POINT 10-11, ASHLAND 0-1: At Eagle Point, junior pitcher Riley Shopp tossed a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts in the five-inning opener and set the tone with three scoreless innings in the six-inning nightcap to open Midwestern League play with a sweep.

The only Ashland batter to reach base against Shopp came off a second-inning error in the opener. Chloe Hurst and Kaylena Hoag each had three hits to lead the Eagles (2-0, 2-0 MWL) in Game 1.

In Game 2, Kelsey McFall went 3-for-3 with four runs for Eagle Point, while Bailee Worrell had two hits and two RBIs and Randi Eggleston added two hits.

Playing in its first varsity league contests since 2016, Ashland (1-2, 0-2) managed three hits in Game 2 but was hindered by three errors in each game. Kallin Hakes, Shelby Brown, Tatum Pantle each had a hit for the Grizzlies.

FIRST GAME

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Adams and Hakes; Shopp and Thompson. W — Shopp (1-0). L — Adams (1-1). 2B — EP: Hoag, Thompson.

SECOND GAME

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Shopp, Eggleston (4) and Conte; Heiken, Adams (4) and Hakes. W — Shopp (2-0). L — Heiken. 2B — EP: Eggleston.

Ashland High RHP Eli Westrick started on the mound against Springfield High at North Mountain Park on Tuesday. [PHOTO BY: LARRY STAUTH JR]