WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County avenged an early-season loss to Wilkes Central on Tuesday night with a 4-2 victory at home over the first place Eagles.
Joseph Lowder wasn’t as sharp as his previous no-hit outing, but was still more than strong enough to earn the victory. Lowder struck out nine Eagle hitters and surrendered just two runs on four hits with six walks.
“It was definitely a good win for us, it jumped us up in the standings with how other games in the conference have went this week,” said Ashe County head coach Mike Windish. “We just have to keep doing what we need to do. Overall I think we played a pretty good game with good defense and good offense.”
Wilkes Central took an early lead, but Ashe tied the score in the bottom of the fourth without the ball even leaving the infield. Ben Brown reached on an infield single and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Gabe Elliott. Tate Hudler reached on an infield single that moved Brown to third. On the next play, Brown scored on an RBI groundout by Pierce Cox.
Ashe took the lead in the following inning after a three-run spurt that was plenty of cushion with Lowder on the mound.
Kendall Richardson knocked in a pair of runs and Turtle Windish drove in a run to take a 4-1 lead.
Evan Adams drove in a run for Wilkes Central in the seventh inning, but Lowder shut the door on the next batter to get the victory.
“The final play of the game with Gabe making the catch on the right field line was just the epitome of how the game went. It wasn’t a perfect game but we did not give a lot away,” said Windish.
Offensively, the Huskies got several key hits throughout the evening and got help from the bottom of the batting order.
“We just did a lot of good things. Our lower half of the lineup put the ball in play and moved runners around when we needed them to,” said Windish. “That helped us scratch out those three runs.”
The Huskies finished with nine hits on the evening. T. Windish finished with three of those. Brown added two, Lowder had one, Richardson had one, Hudler had one and Bradley Richie had a hit and scored once.
Ashe now sits at 8-7 overall and 5-4 in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference.
“This win puts us in a spot where we have to take care of business and see how it all falls out at the end. Being over .500 in our conference right now is not a bad place to be,” said Coach Windish. “There’s still a lot of baseball to play.”
Looking ahead to Friday, Ashe will host East Wilkes and will send Pierce Cox to the mound. According to Windish, Cox took a groundball to the face in Tuesday’s game but should be good to go on the mound. T. Windish will probably be in line to pitch out of the bullpen if needed.
“Starmount kind of took it to those two last time out so they are ready to get back on the mound and throw again,” added Windish.
*As of April 12
1. Wilkes Central: 11-5, 7-2
2. Starmount: 8-8, 6-3
3. West Wilkes: 10-6, 5-4
4. Elkin: 10-6, 5-4
5. Ashe County: 8-7, 5-4
6. Alleghany: 6-8, 3-6
7. East Wilkes: 5-12, 3-6
8. North Wilkes: 5-11, 2-7
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87