The Ashby baseball team tied its win total last season by beating Sebeka 7-1 at home on Friday in its first game of the year.
“I thought we played a great game,” head coach Jared Larson said. “In my eighth year coaching now in high school and it’s the first time I’ve seen a first game where we’ve had all three phases of the game going – offense, defense and pitching – it was tremendous. I’m really proud of our guys.”
Sophomore righty Christian Norby got the win on the mound for the Arrows (1-0), allowing just one run on one walk and one hit while striking out seven Sebeka hitters over five innings.
“Just throwing the fastball, I was just trying to change up the speeds a little bit and place in on the corners of the plate,” the pitcher said after the game. “When I’m up in the count I usually slow it down a little bit and see if I can get them on their front foot swinging.”
The Arrows got things started with a run in the first inning when Scott Johnson singled and came around to score on a Cody Fults single.
The Trojans scratched across their only run in the top of the third inning when their leadoff hitter, Caleb Puttonen ripped an RBI double that scored Kolby Kiser.
Junior Christian Koefod responded by doubling home Norby in the third inning and scoring himself on another Fults RBI single, which brought the score to 3-1 after three innings.
After the Ashby seven-eight-nine hitters went down in order in the fourth, Koefod reached on a fielder’s choice in the fifth, followed by back-to-back RBI doubles from Johnson and Jaden Norby. The Arrows then picked up two more runs in the sixth to close the scoring at 7-1.
Christian Norby finished the game with a three-for-for effort at the plate with a walk, while Koefod went four-for-five. Johnson was two-for-two with a walk.
Koefod pitched the sixth and seventh innings for the Arrows, striking out three while allowing no hits and two walks.
“They hit the strike zone and they pitched to contact and our defense stepped up, so it was really good to see that,” said Larson of the double-Christian, 1-2 punch on the mound.
With the new pitch count rule enacted this season, Larson said he had to adjust his strategy a bit to deal with possible lack of depth on the mound.
“You’re not going to try to throw as many out-pitches like curveballs in the dirt,” he said. “You’re going to pitch a little more to contact. With our conference games coming up here when we have a three-game week next week, it makes it tough because some of those guys can go a little deeper into games and throw more pitches, but you don’t want to have to have them out all three games.
“It’s a little more difficult, but I understand why they’re doing it. I think it’s built more for those bigger schools that have more numbers and pitching staffs, per se.”
The Arrows’ staff will be tested for the first time next week when they have games.
“We’re developing some guys right now who didn’t pitch last year,” Larson said. “We’ll see how that goes. They’ll definitely get in some games next week so we’ll see how they do.”
Up first for Ashby next week is Monday’s game on the road against West Central Area.
“They had a strong team (last year),” said Larson. “They finished second in the tournament, and they’ve got some guys coming back. A lot of these guys are buddies from wrestling and stuff like that, so it’ll be fun to play those guys. They always put it in a little extra gear when they play each other.”
SEBEKA 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 - 1
ASHBY 1 0 2 0 2 2 X - 7