By Don Abernathy (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
It’s understandable if Ash Grove senior catcher Jonathon Rollhaus — or any of his Pirate teammates for that matter — don’t get any sleep before their game on Tuesday.
They are, in fact, just one victory away from completing a dream season.
After a dominating 11-0 Class 2 State semifinal win over Maysville on Monday at Sky Bacon Stadium in Ozark, undefeated Ash Grove will look to cap off a perfect season on Tuesday, against Salisbury High School for the Class 2 State Championship at 7 p.m.
“No, I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight,” Rollhaus said. “A lot of hard work has gone into this and the dream is coming true.”
Ash Grove coach Berrah Brown summed up his team’s expectations succinctly.
“We’ve got one more to win,” Brown said
“It’s still kind of surreal, but we definitely have the team to do it this year, and we are going to give them a run for their money (Tuesday).”
Ash Grove (24-0) jumped to a commanding lead with seven runs in the first inning and added three more in the second inning for a 10-0 lead after two innings of play.
“You never expect a first inning like that in a state semifinal game, but I knew if we faced a pitcher who stayed around the zone, then this lineup could put some runs on the board,” Ash Grove coach Berrah Brown said.
“Everything is clicking right now. We are batting one through nine extremely well and putting together great at bats. We’re playing good at the right time.”
While the Pirates were rolling at the plate, senior pitcher Brock Mooneyham was in control of Maysville hitters, allowing just one hit while striking out 10, in a five-inning run-shortened complete game.
“I felt like I pitched well today, everything was working,” Mooneyham said. “I could put it where I wanted it and they just couldn’t hit it.
“Just one pitch and I could have had a no-hitter, but I’m still happy. No way I regret that pitch. We just got a run-rule win in the state semifinals. I couldn’t be happier.”
Rollhaus led the way for Ash Grove, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Senior Nate Trammell went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and senior Parker Crow also finished 2-for-3 with a double, a run, and an RBI.
“Our pitching is doing really good and our sticks are coming alive right at the time we need it to and we are playing our best baseball right now. And that’s where we want to be,” Rollhaus said.
Ash Grove will turn to junior pitcher Bryce Davis to start against Salisbury in the championship game. Salisbury (24-1) lost its first game of the season in March and have won 24-straight since.
“Davis has been our man all year long and it’s his turn in the rotation to throw and it’s kind of worked out perfectly for us,” Brown said.