Ash Grove remains unbeaten with 10-3 win over Marionville


By Michael Cignoli (For

ASH GROVE — At the start of the season, Ash Grove baseball coach Berrah Brown touted his team’s depth and ability to generate runs from any spot in the batting order.

Eleven games into the season, the Pirates are exactly as advertised — and have yet to lose.

All nine Ash Grove starters recorded a hit, Brock Mooneyham was once again stellar on the mound and the Pirates cruised to a 10-3 victory over Southwest Conference rival Marionville on Thursday afternoon at Rick Creed Field.

Now 11-0, the Pirates continued to their best start to a season in at least 15 years — a dominant run that has vaulted them to the No. 3 spot in the latest Class 2 state rankings.

The Pirates, who returned eight starters from last season’s 15-win team, spent the offseason focusing on fine-tuning their approach against opposing pitchers.

The results have been particularly noticeable, as they’re averaging nearly 11 runs per game — just shy of two runs better than last season’s average.

“We’ve worked very hard on it,” Brown said. “The thing is, they always have a plan when they go to the plate. They try to pass the buck to the next guy, get on base and make something happen. They know that if they go deep in counts and they only swing at stuff that they can capitalize on, they’re going to have success. They’ve really bought into that.”

On Thursday, the Pirates pounded out 14 hits and drew four walks against a 7-6 Marionville squad that received votes in the state polls that were released on Tuesday.


They’ve also scored four-run victories over Class 3 No. 7 Stockton and Class 2 No. 7 Marion C. Early in the past two weeks, with the team showing off its depth in each outing.

“They’ve really bought into only swinging at stuff that they are good at driving,” Brown said. “That’s why we’re pretty tough one through nine. In most of our games this year, most of our runs came from the bottom of the lineup. It’s great to see them all getting a piece of the baseball.”

Pitching has been just as effective, as the staff led by Bryce Davis, Parker Crow and Mooneyham has held opponents to an average of 2.5 runs per game.

It was Mooneyham’s turn in the rotation on Thursday, and the senior responded by striking out 11 of the 25 Marionville batters he faced across six innings of work.

Mooneyham has now fanned 38 of the 73 batters he’s faced this season. If strikeout averages were a statistic, Mooneyham’s would be a jaw-dropping .520.

“Just try to work the outside corner and throw it as hard as I can,” Mooneyham said.

Mooneyham opened the game with five scoreless innings before the Comets finally broke through with two runs in the sixth. Blane Young (double) and Preston Herd (RBI triple) recorded back-to-back extra base hits, and Herd later scored on Garrett Grimm’s sacrifice fly.

By that point, the Pirates had already built a 7-0 lead — and they promptly responded with three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to squash Marionville’s comeback attempt.

“He grinded it out,” Brown said of Mooneyham. “When he has his best stuff, he gets ahead in counts a little bit better and he keeps his pitch count down. But even when he doesn’t have the location that he usually typically has, he just finds a way to compete. That’s why he’s such a good pitcher, no matter who we’re playing against.”

Crow came on for the seventh inning and issued a leadoff walk to Bryer Guerin, who later scored on Will Crumpley’s groundout. But Guerin was the only batter to reach base against Crow, who added yet another strikeout. Crow has now struck out 25 of the 46 batters he’s faced – a .543 rate that exceeds Mooneyham’s.

“We’ve got three good starting arms with some relief arms that are able to throw as well,” Brown said. “We have a lot of confidence on the mound, a lot of confidence in the field and our confidence at the plate is really growing.”

Showings like Thursday’s can only further boost that confidence.

Young, Marionville’s starting pitcher, held the Pirates scoreless during the first inning.

But after Tyler Tummons singled to lead off the second, Jon Rollhaus brought him home with a triple and scored when the Comets committed the first of their five errors.

“He’s definitely been a spark in our lineup this year,” Brown said of Rollhaus. “He’s come through with some very clutch hits and some good-timed hits. And that’s really all it is. We just wait for that one spark to happen in our lineup and it just seems like after that happens, we all catch fire and we all get confidence in our bats and we really start making things happen.”

Wyatt Dennis made it 3-0 with a two-out single later in the second inning, and the Pirates then scored at least one run in each of the next four frames.

Davis scored on Elijah Morrison’s sacrifice fly in the third inning, then Davis brought Crow home with a single in the fourth.

In the fifth, Dennis wound up at second base after a Marionville outfielder misplayed his single. Two runners scored on the play.

Owen Bright relieved Young for the sixth inning. Morrison, Cooper Burks and Crow hit back-to-back-to-back RBI singles to give the Pirates their largest lead of the night.

Crow (four), Dennis (two) and Tummons (two) all had multiple hits for Ash Grove. Crow, Tummons, Morrison and Nate Trammell all scored two runs.

“We did a lot of work in the offseason,” Mooneyham said. “A lot of guys have improved from last year. Overall, we’re just a completely better team than we were last year.”

MARIONVILLE (7-6) 000 002 1 — 3 6 5
ASH GROVE (11-0) 031 123 x — 10 14 0

Related Posts