GREENSBORO — The one way to have a good feeling about a high school baseball tournament is to have a strong finish.
The Asheboro High School varsity baseball team certainly had that as the Blue Comets closed their portion of the Greensboro Grasshoppers Spring Break Baseball Tournament with an impressive 2-1 win over Northern Guilford Saturday morning at First National Bank Field.
The victory evened the Blue Comets’ record at 8-8 after they opened the tournament with a 13-6 loss to Southeast Guilford and a 2-1 setback to Western Alamance.
The win gave AHS some much-needed momentum as they are in the midst of a very busy week. Asheboro was scheduled to face top-seeded Ledford twice, powerful Western Forsyth and then Green Hope, a game that was recently added for this Saturday at Kiwanis Park.
After losses in the first two rounds of the tournament, it was essential to get a win.
“It was huge,” AHS coach Brett Hoogkamp said. “We had talked earlier this week and we really didn’t play well in the first couple of games here and it was really important to get back to .500 and it’s important for playoff implications.”
Tanner Marsh pitched six impressive innings, yielding just two hits and one unearned run. He didn’t walk anyone and fanned 10.
But as has been the problem in the past, the Blue Comets had a tough time bringing runners around as they had just one run on five hits through the first six innings.
Josh Meadows singled in the fourth, went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Amari Godwin and scored on a clutch two-out single by Chandler Macon. It stayed that way until NG (4-11) recorded an infield hit and a bloop single sandwiched around a throwing error to tie the game in the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh, Ben Luck singled sharply to right and Marsh, who had already recorded two singles, ripped a game-winning double to left to plate Luck and end the contest.
”He came at me with two curveballs and I kind of figured it was coming again because the catcher made a comment I was probably getting a fastball, so I pretty much knew it was going to be another curveball,” Marsh said. “So I scooted up in the box and set back and put a pretty good swing on it.”
In the second game of the tournament against Western Alamance on Thursday, Macon pitched very well for the Blue Comets, allowing just two runs and five hits with two walks in 5 ⅔ innings pitched. He struck out two.
But AHS couldn’t string anything together offensively, scoring just the one run on five hits. Marsh and Cohen Caviness had two hits each and Connor Adams had a hit and run scored.
The opener on Wednesday was against former conference member Southeast Guilford. With AHS tailing just 3-0 after four complete innings, the game took an abrupt turn when the Falcons scored five runs on six hits in the fifth inning for an 8-0 lead.
The Blue Comets fought back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth with Marsh driving in two with a double and Godwin singling in another, but SEG plated five more runs on just two hits in the sixth for a 13-3 lead.
Macon singled in a run in the sixth and AHS scored twice in the seventh on three hits. Caviness had an RBI hit in that frame as the Blue Comets finished with seven hits, including two from Godwin.
“It was a great atmosphere for them to play in and a great opportunity and a great experience,” Hoogkamp said. “Hopefully this is something they can look forward to.”