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Swamp Foxes struggle against Virginia teams

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roger Lee/Journal Scene Ashley Ridge outfielder Josh Litchfield slides into second Wednesday during the Hanahan Invitational Tournament.

The Ashley Ridge baseball program experienced some ups and some downs during this year’s Hanahan Invitational Tournament.

The Swamp Fox varsity got off to a good start in the tournament, defeating Hickory Grove High School out of North Carolina 8-6 on Monday. Josh Church picked up the win on the mound to improve his pitching record to 4-0. Rusty Grayson earned the save.

The Swamp Foxes had 13 hits in the game. Wesley Aschenbrenner led the way, going 3 for 4 at the plate with an RBI. Jason Miller and Josh Litchfield both had a double and finished 2 for 3 at the plate. Pinch hitter Bradley McLaughlin hit a 3-run homerun.

Ashley Ridge played two teams out of Virginia Wednesday and lost both games.

“We’re disappointed with going 1-2 even though we lost to a pair of pretty good teams,” Ashley Ridge coach B.J. Bellush said. “We were hoping we would play our best baseball in this tournament and roll into the last week of our region season and that wasn’t the case. We are getting away from the little things we had been doing. Our pitchers aren’t throwing strikes and we aren’t playing very good defense.”

Against James River High the Swamp Foxes fell behind early. Ashley Ridge did rally late but suffered a 10-5 loss.

Ashley Ridge took Grassfield High into an extra inning before falling 6-5. The Virginia team broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the sixth to carry a 5-3 lead into the seventh.

Then Litchfield led off the bottom of the inning with a single, moved around on a walk and a passed ball and scored on groundout. Hunter Grover followed with a single to push Grayson across and retie the game.

A dropped fly cost the Swamp Foxes a run in the top of the eighth but Ashley Ridge kept fighting.

The Swamp Foxes loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame off a walk and singles by Litchfield and Aaron Miller. However, the next batter ground out to end the threat.

“Our guys have fight in them but they wait too late to show it,” Bellush said. “The first inning we had the bases loaded with no outs and the ball never left the infield so we didn’t get a single run. That kind of set the tone. They did fight to tie the game but we came up on the short end of the stick. The good thing is it doesn’t affect our region standing so we just have to get back to work and hopefully put a little bit of a better product on the field.”

Ashley Ridge dropped to 15-4 on the season, but it will carry a 9-1 region record into Monday’s showdown with region foe Summerville. The Green Wave is also 9-1 in Region 8-AAAA.

The Ashley Ridge JV team won three straight games this week to advance to the HIT JV championship game. It faced West Ashley in the title game after press time Thursday.

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