By CODY LEIST
PDT Sports Writer
CHILLICOTHE —The squeeze play is one of the most exciting plays in baseball.
And on Wednesday night, No. 1 Valley used it to win the Division IV Southeast District Baseball Championship at V.A. Memorial Stadium. Adam Arnett’s sacrifice scored Rob Dwyer to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth and the Indians added an insurance run to defeat No. 3 Whiteoak 3-1.
“These kids executed today and Patrick (Riehl) did what he was supposed to do,” Valley coach Dean Schuler said.
The win marks the sixth regional trip under Schuler’s tenure. It’s the second-straight for the Indians after capturing a Division III crown in 2011.
“A lot of this success today is what the last two teams have done,” Schuler said. “I’m just as proud of what those guys taught these guys to do and this group, they went out offensively and executed for us to get runs and they played defense.”
Valley took the lead in the first when Tyler Rowe’s RBI single scored Alex Hartley. The Wildcats tied it in the top of the fifth when Doc Seip scored Zach Doctor.
Then came up Arnett in the bottom of the frame with a chance to give his team the lead. Schuler put on the safety squeeze.
“Adam knew it,” Schuler said. “When I went up, I said bunt it up the first base line and he said okay.
“He knows that he can do that. He’s confident in that.”
C.J. Burk drove in Rowe the next inning to give the Indians an insurance run. Schuler felt it was critical at that point to put some distance between his team and the opponents.
It helped Riehl earn his sixth win of the campaign as he struck out 10, walked two and hit a batter. Schuler believed rest was the best medicine for his ace’s shoulder.
“The biggest thing that impressed me with Patrick was Patrick got an out two or three times when he had to,” Schuler said. “He got a strikeout when he had to and it was fitting he struck the side out (to end the game).”
Valley advances to next week’s regional tournament at Lancaster’s Beaver Field. The Indians will take on the winner of today’s game between Berlin Hiland and Stubenville Central Catholic.
On the other side of the bracket is Racine Southern, which defeated Reedsville Eastern 9-3 earlier Wednesday, and Newark Catholic.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.
Whiteoak 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 1 4 3
Valley 1 0 0 0 1 1 x — 3 7 1
Whiteoak — Doctor 1-2 (BB, R), Bradds 1-2 (HBP), Taggert 0-2 (BB), Seip 2-3 (2B, RBI), Wardlow 0-2 (BB).
Valley — Keller 0-2 (BB), A. Arnett 0-2 (SAC, RBI), Hartley 0-3 (SB, R), Rowe 2-3 (SB, RBI, R), Riehl 1-2 (SAC), N. Arnett 2-3 (SB), Burk 1-3 (RBI), Dwyer 1-3 (R), Howard 0-2 (SAC).
W — Riehl (6-1)
L — Garraher (8-2)
Records — Whiteoak 19-8; Valley 15-8.