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Ashton routs Black Earth


July 18, 2019

Mary Langenfeld

Casey Owens (11) and Black Earth's Home Talent League team fell to Ashton on Sunday.

ASHTON - Derek Prochaska began playing Home Talent League baseball before several of his younger teammates were old enough to swing a bat.

But as the elder statesman for the Ashton A's, Prochaska remains one of the most feared power hitters in the league.

Prochaska belted a three-run home run in the first inning Sunday to ignite a 17-hit explosion as Ashton blasted the Black Earth Bombers, 18-2, in a Home Talent League Northern Section Eastern Division contest.

The game was shortened to five innings due to the 15-run mercy rule.

"Welcome to our house," said Ashton left fielder Liam Belleveau, who had two hits, including a solo home run, and drove in three runs.

Ashton improved to 11-2 and remained one game behind Middleton (12-1) in the race for the Eastern Division title and the Northern Section's top playoff seed.

Black Earth was listed as the home team on the scoreboard, but the A's gave the Bombers a rude reception.

"As soon as (Prochaska) hit it, you knew it was gone," Belleveau said. "It was good to get back at them for our first loss of the season. We didn't play our best ball that game. We played really well today."

Talk about an understatement.

The A's had eight of their nine starters record at least one base hit and score at least one run. Ashton ripped five extra-base hits, including three home runs.

"We got 17 (runs) last Sunday, but it's been awhile since we had 18," Ashton manager Dave Adler said with a grin. "That's what I said in the (pre-game) meeting. We've got it, let's put it to them. We did."

Black Earth edged Ashton, 5-4, on June 9, dealing the A's their first defeat of the season. In that game, Ashton scored two runs in the first inning, but stranded 15 runners, including five on third base.

The A's again got off to a quick start against the Bombers when leadoff hitter Chris Miller reached base on an infield error and moved to second when Kyle Clapper was hit by a pitch.

One out later, Prochaska sent a 1-1 pitch from Black Earth starter Tony Caminiti over the right-center field fence for his fourth home run of the season and a quick 3-0 lead.

"He started me out with a curve ball, and I fouled it off," said Prochaska, the A's designated hitter who also drew two intentional walks. "I decided if he throws me another one, I'm going to put a good swing on it. I happened to put a good swing on it, and it went over the fence today."

That provided Ashton starting right-hander Derrick Rothwell all the support he needed.

Rothwell tossed a five-inning complete game, scattering four hits and allowing two runs with three walks and nine strikeouts.

"Giving a guy like Derrick the lead in the first inning in any game is important," Prochaska said of Rothwell. "We put runs up there, and when Derrick throws strikes we're pretty tough to beat."

It also provided an interesting scenario for their vocal fans.

"I said to Derek (Prochaska), this will be the first time I'm taking the mound with a lead here before I throw a pitch," Rothwell said. "It was interesting. It was nice. The bats were big today."

The A's didn't rest on their early lead, tacking on seven runs in the second inning - all after two outs - to keep the pressure on the Bombers.

Chris Miller singled to center field, the first of his two hits, Clapper drew a walk and Shane Adler delivered an RBI single for the first of his three hits.

After Prochaska was walked intentionally to load the bases, Belleveau lined a two-run single to right-center field for a 6-0 lead.

"He's still a top hitter in this league," Black Earth manager Eric Duhr said of Prochaska. "And Liam did what he's supposed to when we walked Derek. He knocked one off the wall and showed me that I can't be doing that."

Cooper Holewinski, who was 4-for-4, followed with a two-run single to center field. Bryce Ziegler, who had two hits, added an RBI double, and Zach Shipley capped the seven-run inning with a run-scoring single to center to stake Ashton to a 10-0 lead.

"The wheels just fell off," Duhr said. "That's happened the last few weeks to us, but we won't give up."

Black Earth trimmed its deficit to 10-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second on Clay Caminiti's two-run single to left field. Clay Caminiti had two of the Bombers' four hits.

Despite the huge lead, Rothwell wasn't pleased with his performance after cooling his heels on the bench during Ashton's offensive fireworks.

"I'm a competitor big time," Rothwell said. "It doesn't matter to me if we've got one run or 18 runs, I don't want to give up any runs.

"You love the run support, but you've got to get back dialed in. I came out in that second inning and wasn't as sharp. That's on me to find a groove again after that long break."

Holewinski lined a run-scoring single to center field in the third inning, and Shane Adler's infield single drove in another run in the fourth to extend the A's lead to 12-2.

"It's cool getting a big lead, but you can't count out Black Earth," Holewinski said. "They had a chance of coming back. But Derrick shut them down, our defense played well and the bats kept coming."

Belleveau lined his second home run of the season over the right-center field fence to open the fifth inning, and Bryce Ziegler added an RBI single.

Shane Adler then capped the six-run outburst with a grand slam - his second in two games. Adler finished with six RBI.

"The last time we played these guys we scored two in the first inning and then only scored two the rest of the way," said Shane Adler, who hit his fifth home run of the season. "It was huge to continue to keep the gas pedal down and keep playing hard."

The victory extended Ashton's winning streak to four games, a span during which the A's have outscored their opponents, 48-10, since suffering a 4-3 loss at Middleton on June 23.

"It was a great team win," Dave Adler said. "Everybody did something. It helps when you hit three home runs, too."

Meanwhile, Black Earth (7-6) lost its fourth game in a row and has been outscored, 54-10, in that span.

The Bombers were also without ace right-hander Marcus Caminiti on the mound.

"Marcus Caminiti hurt his arm last week," Duhr said. "I'm not sure when we're going to see him pitch again. That's a big loss. No doubt about it. He's my horse. He does everything for me."

But Duhr said it was simply Ashton's day.

"This team can hit, no doubt about it," Duhr said of the A's. "They can hit. They can run, and Rothwell is a good pitcher especially with this lineup."

• On deck: Ashton travels to Cross Plains (8-6), while Black Earth plays at Waunakee (5-8) in upcoming Sunday League action on July 21.

Sunday, July 14

Ashton 18, Black Earth 2

Ashton ........... 371 16 – 18 17 0

Black Earth ... 020 00 – 2 4 2

Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) – A: Derrick Rothwell (W, 5-2-2-3-9). BE: Tony Caminitti (L, 2-8-9-2-1), Casey Owen (2-4-2-3-0), Jed Traxler (0.2-4-6-2-1), Tyler Krause (0.1-1-0-0-0).

Leading hitters – A: Cooper Holewinski (4x4), Chris Miller (2x4), Shane Adler (3x5), Liam Belleveau (2x4), Bryce Ziegler (2x4). 2B – Belleveau, Bryce Ziegler. HR – Derrick Prochaska, Belleveau, Adler. BE: Clay Caminitti (2x3).


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