After falling behind by four runs in the first inning, Ashley Ridge settled in and earned an 8-5 win over White Knoll in the Class AAAA Lower State baseball playoffs.
Ashley Ridge (27-1) advances to host the winner of the South Aiken/Lexington game at 7 p.m. Monday. White Knoll drops into the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination round.
Ashley Ridge pitcher Patrick Mace got off to a rough start.
But the Swamp Foxes bounced back in the bottom of the frame. Leadoff hitter Lorenzo Wright reached on a walk and was driven in by Billy Siegler. Then Bryan Dye tied the game with a three-run homer that plated Siegler and Nick Bell.
“They are a very good team and they came out swinging,” Ashley Ridge coach BJ Bellush said. “But our guys are mentally tough and refuse to lose. Getting those four runs right back was big. It loosened Mace up, and then he did what he normally does, which is throw strikes and get guys out. I’m proud of the way he bounced back. He bared down and threw 118 pitches on a hot day.”
Mace went the distance, fanning seven and walking four.
The Timberwolves had nine hits to the Swamp Foxes’ six, but four of the Ashley Ridge hits were for extra bases. In addition to Dye’s bomb, Cuyler McAuliffe had a triple and Wright and Bell had doubles.
In the fifth inning, Ashley Ridge added one run off the two doubles and a sacrifice bunt by Seigler, and another when Ryan Snow came home on a wild pitch. The Foxes also scored two in the sixth off the triple, singles by Tyler Hamby and Seigler, and a sacrifice bunt by Irv Batten.
White Knoll’s final run came in the seventh inning off a walk, a single by Carl Wise and a wild pitch.
White Knoll’s Josh Wilson was 2 for 2 at the plate while Wise and Harrison were both 2 for 4 with an RBI.