BY AARON SNYDER
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
RUSSELL Ping, pop! Ping, pop!
Ashland’s Zoë Ingram drilled two different line drives directly at Russell pitcher Haven Layne. Layne simply reacted and snagged them for outs.
In addition to flashing leather, Layne supplied a strong start in the circle and a two-run double to help lift Russell past Ashland, 11-4, on Tuesday. It gave the Lady Devils two victories over the Kittens within eight days.
Russell coach Terry Callihan admired Layne’s cat-like reflexes against the Kittens.
“As cool as a cucumber,” Callihan said. “I told her, I don’t know if I’d have gone back out to the field if I had one hit like that to me. She was on top of her game tonight.”
Said Ashland coach Scott Ingram: “Those were rockets.
Those are normally base hits. Give her credit, she made a play. That’s what happens when it’s not going well.”
Layne struck out six of the first nine Kittens she faced. She finished with eight punchouts as she overcame seven walks. Ashland managed six hits.
“She always seems to throw really well against us,” Ingram said. “She kinda had one rough inning there, but I’m proud of the way she bounced back and finished,” said Callihan of the junior who tossed 128 pitches.
Russell (17-6) needed just one hit to get on the board in the third. The Lady Devils capitalized on two of Ashland’s five total errors.
“(Committing) two (errors) a game, you’re going to win a lot of ball games,” Ingram said. “Right now, we’re not hitting it well enough to recover from three, let alone seven or eight, whatever we had.”
Camryn Ratliff provided a spark in every plate appearance. Russell’s catcher went 4 for 4 with four singles and three RBIs.
“She’s one of the most valuable players on the team,” Callihan said. “She’s a utility player. She could literally play any position in the field, but she’s doing what’s best for the team. That’s what a teammate’s all about.”
Both Grace Osborn and Layne doubled in the fourth inning to help extend Russell’s lead to 6-2.
Meanwhile, Ingram’s frustration mounted as Ashland left the bases loaded in both the fourth and fifth frames.
“You’ve got to capitalize on that,” said the coach.
Mykayla Akers went 2 for 3 for the Kittens (1112). Abbey Stambaugh, Kenzi Robinson and Haylie Haney drove in runs. Haney recorded two RBIs on a double in the seventh inning.
Osborn scored three times for Russell. She was 2 for 4.
Ali Hartman went 1 for 2 with two RBIs and made a running catch in deep left field to halt one Ashland threat.
Lexy Roark also drove in a run.
“It was big, we needed it,” Callihan said. “We came out (Monday against East Carter) and had a lackluster performance. To pick up a win against Ashland, that’s big. Ashland’s better than their record. They’ve played a really tough schedule. A win
over a quality ball club, we’ll take it.”
ASHLAND000 200 2— 4 65 RUSSELL003 350 x— 11112 Akers, Haney (5) and Spears; Layne and Ratliff. W—Layne. L—Akers. 2B—Osborn (R), Haney (A), Hall (R), Layne (R).
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