By PAMELA SCOTT JOHNSON
The strong pitching of Gilbert Highs Ashton Cline on the road April 7 helped the Lions to remain undefeated with an 11-4 victory over Burch High School in the Bulldogs first game of the season.
The Bulldogs got on the board first in the opening inning while Cline used the first 2 innings to settle down. After the third, Cline, in his first game pitching this year, struck out 8 batters and remained on the mound the entire game.
I typically wont let a pitcher throw a complete game this early in the season but Ashton kept his pitch count down after the first couple innings, and got stronger as the game progressed, said Lions Coach Walt Cline. That and pitching on a rare warm evening helped him to finish the game. Ashton was gaining confidence the longer he went and still had good velocity on the ball late in the game retiring 9 out of 10 batters he faced in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Ashton throws hard so hopefully we can develop his change-up and breaking ball to keep batter off stride as the season progresses.
The Lions used the third inning to take the lead for good with 2 runs. GHS went on to score 4 in the fourth, 2 in the fifth and 3 in the seventh.
Burch matched the Lions in the final inning but it wasnt enough before the final out.
Austin Trent was perfect at the plate for Gilbert going 3 for 3 but it was John May, Joe Tilley and Josh May with the wicked bats.
May was 2 for 5 with 3 RBI. Tilley smacked a double and a triple with 2 RBI as he went 2 for 4 hitting. May stood over the dish only once and hit a 2-run dinger with a couple of ribeyes. Roger Ellis and Cline ended the game with a single each.
The May brothers, Josh and John, are hitting the ball hard right now and are providing some power to the line-up with the long ball, said Cline. John hit a 2-run homer the last game. Both have combined for 5 RBI in each of the past two games. If we can get the top of our batting order on base and John and Josh continue to stay down on the ball and hit it where its pitched, we can score some runs.
Joe Tilley has showed consistency with the bat. Joe had a triple and double. Austin Trent has contributed 5 hits the past three games, and is sparking us at the top of the line-up. Its early and if we can get Roger, Tanner and Matt to hit more consistently, we can score runs in bunches because Jordan Abbott is hitting the ball well but he has been the victim of outstanding defense plays.
Bulldog Zack Runyon went 2 for 4 with a double while Gabriel Vinson and Troy Starr had a hit.
The Bulldogs dont have a field and play all home games at the Williamson Fieldhouse. They are scheduled to play the Lions again April 12 at Gilbert.