Cougars edge Tuscola in season openerDuffield drills homer, Powell gets two hits in loss to Asheville High
In the season opener for both teams, Asheville High’s Timon Salters drove in the game-winning run off of lefty Forrest Kerslake in the top of the seventh inning to saddle the Tuscola varsity baseball team with a 5-4 loss Monday afternoon at Mountaineer Ballpark next to Junaluska Elementary.
Kerslake (0-1), who pitched only the seventh, was tagged with the loss. Senior Lucas Ledford started for skipper Caleb McConnell’s Mountaineers, going four frames, giving up just two hits, one earned run and struck out three Cougars. He left the game with a 3-2 lead.
“We swung the bats and hit the ball well for a first game,” said McConnell. “But it was sloppy defense that cost us the game.”
Zach Maag, who threw the final two innings, was the winning pitcher for Asheville.
Tuscola’s Zach Lennane pitched the fifth and sixth innings and was touched for a run in each frame.
The Cougars tied the game at three in top of the fifth and senior Levi Duffield, who had two RBI, blasted a solo shot in the bottom half of the same inning to give the Mountaineers a 4-3 lead.
But Asheville, which finished with nine hits. tied the game at four in the top of the sixth.
The Cougars got a pair of runs in the top of the first and were held sdcoreless until the fifth.
The Mountaineers scored three in the bottom of the third on a RBI single by senior first baseman Dylan Powell, who finished with two hits and a run batted in, a sacrifice fly by Duffield and a safety squeeze bunt by Cameron Green.
Tuscola, which had a total of seven hits, including singles from Wesley Mull, Ledford, Lennane Neil Peterson.
McConnell club’s next game is a home date with the Enka Jets at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1.