CLINTON — Newly-inducted Ashford Hall of Famer Brian Cummings started to see things turn around late in his career. In terms of this season, the Saints are doing the same.
Ashford took three games out of four against Grand View over the weekend, including a 9-1 finale Saturday after losing 5-0 in the opener of the doubleheader at Ashford University Field.
Ashford pitcher Pat Macaione picked up the win with a complete-game five-hitter that included four strikeouts.
It was the first time the Ashford senior had picked up a win since April 21, 2012. He has dealt with injuries the past three years and said that winning Saturday was the biggest “up” in his roller-coaster journey.
“I had the support of my family, friends and team throughout these last three years,” Macaione said. “It’s been tough, but with the support, it’s been accomplishable. I’ll never forget it.”
The Saints (13-14) enter today’s twinbill against St. Ambrose winners in six of their past seven games.
“Grand View has always had our number, so that makes it even more special,” Macaione said.
Macaione had plenty of offensive support. Tyler Davis and R.J. Roberts had three RBIs apiece, and Roberts’ 1-for-5 day in the doubleheader tied him for the program record in career hits (160), matching Jake Steve.
Roberts has 17 hits this season, and the record-tying knock came on a two-run single in the third inning.
“I saw a fastball, and it was in my hitting zone,” Roberts said. “See ball, hit ball.”
Roberts wants that next hit but realizes he has to be patient.
“More than anything, I just want to get a team at-bat,” Roberts said. “It’s just a cool thing, I don’t know what else to say about it. I just look back to see how hard I’ve worked to get these 160 hits, it’s really, really cool.”
Cummings had that same type of feeling during and after the induction ceremony between games. Cummings was handed a Hall of Fame plaque, and a framed “26” jersey by Ashford Coach John Govek and players.
“I thought there was no more deserving player than Brian,” Govek said. “He was a self-made player; his evolution in the program was amazing. During the ceremony, I was reliving the moments he had, and remembered the great player his senior year.
Cummings, a Clinton High alumnus, admitted there were some hard times in his early days at Ashford.
“I kind of lost what I was going and lost my approach,” Cummings said. “I tried to get out of it mentally, and it took some time, but once I did, I ended in a strong way. (Today) is kind of a good way to put an exclamation point on everything.”
Govek points out that even the smartest players have to think less to be a successful baseball player.
“You almost have to play baseball dumb and slow the game down as much as possible,” Govek said. “Brian couldn’t do that his first couple years and put a lot of pressure on himself. He took that pressure off him all on his own without coaching, and he just went off. His senior year was one of the greatest single seasons I’ve ever seen.”
Cummings received All-Midwest Collegiate Conference honors in 2009.
<\z186666660308838>GRAND VIEW 5, ASHFORD 0
<\Bz186666660308838>Grand View 001 040 0 — 5 8 1
<\Bz186666660308838>Ashford 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
<\z186666660308838>Spencer Lockwood (7 ip, 3 h, 0 r, 0 er, 2 bb, 8 so) and Blake Marchant. Jim Miller (7 ip, 8 h, 5 r, 2 er, 2 bb, 4 so) and Luis Estevez. Multiple hits — GV (Ryan Curtis 3, Marchant 2); Ashford (Dylan Kester 2). 2B — GV (Little, Curtis). 3B — GV (Jake DeBondt). HR — GV (Curtis). RBIs — GV (Curtis 2, Little, Marchant).
<\z186666660308838>ASHFORD 9, GRAND VIEW 1
<\Bz186666660308838>Grand View 000 010 0 — 1 5 2
<\Bz186666660308838>Ashford 303 003 x — 9 11 2
<\z186666660308838>Sam Wadsworth (5 ip, 7 h, 6 r, 5 er, 3 bb, 2 so), Brandon Mazur (0 ip, 3 h, 3 r, 3 er, 0 bb, 0 so), Josh Baker (1 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 0 er, 0 bb, 0 so) and DeBondt. Pat Macaione (7 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 4 so) and Colton Christensen. Multiple hits — Ashford (Kester 2, Tyler Davis 2). 3B — GV (Curtis). RBIs — GV (Tommy Halligan); Ashford (Davis 3, R.J. Roberts 3, J.C. Peralta).