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All-Ohio pitcher Riley limits Flashes in loss

By JOSH MORGRET • Updated May 5, 2018 at 2:32 AM

WILLARD — Oak Harbor senior Ashley Riley has not put up the numbers she did last year.

But, she is still the pitcher that won 29 games and struck out 312 batters in 2017.

On Friday, RIley reminded many why she has twice been named All-Ohio, as she allowed one hit and struck out a season-high 12 batters in the Rockets' 5-0 Sandusky Bay Conference Bay division win over Willard.

"It looked like Ashley had all of her pitches going and she getting ahead in the count," Oak Harbor coach Chris Rawski said. "When she does that, she is pretty difficult to hit."

Riley took a perfect game into the sixth inning for Oak Harbor (20-5, 11-0) before allowing a two-out hit to No. 9 hitter Ellie White. She also walked Cathern Hamons to lead off the seventh inning, but was never near any danger against the Flashes (8-6, 5-4). Riley also threw 4 1/3 innings of perfect ball against Port Clinton on Tuesday.

"What Ashley did tonight is a mirror image of what she did last year," Willard coach Fred Mock said. "We did not play Oak Harbor, but I read about it. The first time we played (11-1 Oak Harbor win on April 9), she struggled a bit with the cold weather. Tonight, she was on."

Riley only went to a three-ball count twice before the walk to Hamons. She was 3-0 against Hamons in the first inning before bouncing back to strike her out. She also did it in the sixth inning before another strikeout. White followed that with a single into centerfield before Riley got Madie Secor to ground out softly.

"Her ball was rising and we just did not adjust to it like we should have," Mock said. "You have to tip your hat to that. There is nothing you can do when an all-state pitcher is on. She is all-state for a reason."

Meanwhile at the plate, Oak Harbor — ranked No. 2 in the state coaches poll — got plenty of offense against Morgan Hamons. Taylor LeMaster singled in the second inning and an error on the play allowed Seree Petersen to score. Olivia Rahm and Emily Lenke each doubled to deep centerfield, with Lenke's scoring two runs.

"We had some mental lapses," Mock said. "We did stuff that just can not happen at the varsity level. We have to make the routine plays."

In the third inning, Dani Epling and Petersen each singled before Lauren St. Clair's single scored a run. The Rockets added a run in sixth inning. Lenke and Riley each singled, then Epling laid down a bunt, but the throw home was late, allowing Lenke to score.

"It is not all negative," Mock said. "If we clean up some stuff, we are right there competing with the best in the state."

The Rockets clinched their second straight outright league title when they defeated Port Clinton on Tuesday. 

Riley's 12 strikeouts are just the second time she has went over the double-digit mark and the first since 11 strikeouts on March 27th in a game in Florida.

Willard will host Huron on Tuesday in another SBC Bay division game. The Crimson Flashes are also the No. 5 seed in the 12-team Div. II Edison district, and travel to No. 5 Tiffin Columbian in a May 11 sectional championship game.

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