There are no bullpen mounds for pitchers at Bullis — they’re set to be installed Thursday — so Ashur had to adjust in the early going. He struggled with the first couple of batters, going to full counts on both and walking the leadoff man, but settled in to pitch a one-hitter in the 10th-ranked Little Hoyas’ 3-1 road win in their Interstate Athletic Conference opener in Potomac.
It marked their 17th consecutive win in the series between the Montgomery County private schools.
“I don’t think I’ve ever pitched on a mound that isn’t even a mound, just flat ground,” Ashur said with a laugh. “That was hard to get used to. It took me a little while to adjust, but after that I felt like I had good command of my pitches.”
“He pitches like a surgeon,” Georgetown Prep Coach Chris Rodriguez said, referring to Ashur’s ability to locate just about any pitch in any count. “He’s not the biggest. He’s not the strongest. He doesn’t throw harder than everybody. But he works very, very hard at his craft. We had the scouting report, and he had it memorized top to bottom. He doesn’t leave anything to chance in terms of his prep work physically, mentally, emotionally.”
Bullis (5-3, 0-1) scored its only run in the first inning on a walk, steal and consecutive groundouts, and did not manage a hit off Ashur until sophomore Ben Webster led off the seventh with a double down the left field line.
The Little Hoyas got the last three outs to strand the runner and seal the win for Ashur, who struck out three and walked three for the defending IAC regular season and tournament champions.
“When you play teams that are of that caliber, you’ve got to be able to put the ball in play,” said Bullis Coach Brian Lumpkin, whose team will face Prep again on Thursday. “We put the ball in play, but our quality of at-bats was not what I would like.”
Georgetown Prep (10-6, 1-0) had at least one baserunner in every inning but one, but stranded 10 and mostly scattered their six hits. Senior Andrew Frazier doubled to lead off the third and later scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Tom Davin to tie the game at 1-1.
That score stood until the top of the sixth, when Bullis senior left-hander Jackson Stoner hit two batters with one out. Each moved up a base on a two-out infield hit by Davin, and sophomore pinch runner Riley Backenstoe scored on a passed ball. The next two batters walked to force in the third run.
Rodriguez charted 11 hard-hit balls that resulted in Prep outs, but with the hits not falling, Ashur and a defense that turned double plays to end the fifth and sixth innings were enough.
“It’s a little frustrating to lose [the no-hitter] in the seventh, but the team played a great game,” Ashur said. “When you can go out there and know your team’s got your back, it’s hard not to throw strikes. It really gives you that peace of mind.”