By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
ANDERSON, Mo. —
It’s been written that the success of a baseball team starts with pitching.
There’s no doubt that right-hander Tristan Ash was in firm control for the Joplin Miners on Saturday morning.
Ash, backed by a seven-run first inning, stopped the Carl Junction Post 781 American Legion team 10-0 in seven innings to give Joplin the Triple A District 15 Tournament championship at McDonald County High School.
Post 781, which had lost to the Miners in the winners’ bracket finals, beat Monett 9-2 in the losers’ finals on Friday night to earn another shot against the Miners.
The Miners, 33-6 with their second district crown in a row, advance to the Zone 3 playoffs starting Thursday at Springfield Hillcrest. Joplin debuts at 4 p.m. on Thursday against the winner of Glendale and Hillcrest.
Said Post 781 coach Mike Walker: “They hit the ball and we didn’t. We were pretty clean on defense. The first inning with those seven runs was the killer.
“Ash threw well,” Walker said. “The key was throwing strikes.”
Said Joplin coach Drew Schulte: “Tristan was very good. He competed. He knew it was a big game. He used his off-speed pitches. He kept the Carl Junction batters off balance.”
Joplin assistant Bobby Stackhouse said that Ash threw 91 pitches with 42 through the first two innings.
Ash allowed a double by Austin Niemeyer in the second inning and a single by Evan Hutcheson in the seventh. Ash struck out six and walked two with one pass in the first inning and the other in the second.
One-out singles by Johnny Maturino and Brett Graham a walk to Gavin Jones set up Ash’s two-run single in the first inning.
Rex Whisner doubled to score Jones and Blake Brown singled to score Ash. Colton Johnson followed with a long double to score Whisner and Brown to make it 6-0. Johnson eventually scored on Maturino’s single.
Brown doubled in the third inning, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Josh Miller’s ground-out.
The Miners scored their final tallies in the fourth inning on a walk to Maturino, a single by Jones and a two-out triple by Whisner.
Ash forced Post 781 to leave runners at third base and second in the second inning by securing two strikeouts. Whisner, in the seventh inning, sprinted in to snare a liner for the third out with a runner on third.