By CODY LEIST
PDT Sports Writer
CHILLICOTHE — It takes one little crack to break the dam.
That is how top-seeded Valley drew first blood Sunday in its Division IV Southeast District Semifinal baseball game at VA Memorial Stadium. When it was all said and done in the fifth inning, the Indians sent 10 to the plate as five of them scored and Valley advanced with a 6-0 win over No. 5 Trimble.
“The biggest thing was that we started down the lineup a third time,” Indians coach Dean Schuler said. “We were hitting the ball but we were a little bit anxious and just got out on the front side a little bit.”
Midway through the fifth inning, the Tomcats’ J.D. Chesser and Valley’s Will Howard had to allow four combined hits. It seemed as if this pitcher’s duel would be decided in the final inning with one decision.
Those plans changed with the first pitch of the bottom half of inning five. Nate Arnett hit a swinging bunt to reach first.
C.J. Burk stepped up and also caught the Tremble defense napping with a perfect bunt down the third base line for a hit. Rob Dwyer broke the shutout streak with a sacrifice fly that scored Arnett.
The major blow created by the Indians in the inning came when Alex Hartley’s one-out double cleared all three bases that were previously occupied by Valley runners. It was the only hit of the night for the Indian backstop.
The run support gave Hartley’s battery mate, Will Howard, the necessary space and confidence he needed to notch the victory. The lefty struck out six and walked three for his fourth win of the season.
The lone hits recorded by the Tomcats were in the third and seventh, both with two outs.
“The biggest factor was that Will went out and threw strikes,” Schuler said. “He took control of the game from the get-go and had them in hand. He took leadership that we wanted in throwing strikes and we made the routine plays behind him. The kids just finally settled in the fourth and fifth inning and had a better approach.”
The Indians return to Chillicothe Wednesday when they take on No. 3 Whiteoak. The Wildcats defeated No. 2 Green 9-3 in eight innings.
This is the second-straight tournament game Valley pitching has allowed two or less hits. Patrick Riehl allowed a sixth inning single in Wednesday’s 8-0 win over No. 8 Western.
In the last two games, Indians pitchers have struck out 18, walked seven and have yet to allow a run.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.
Trimble 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 2 2
Valley 0 0 0 0 5 1 x – 6 10 1
Trimble—Downs 1-3, Chesser 0-2 (BB), Hooper 0-2 (BB), Vaido 1-3, Kish 0-1 (BB).
Valley—Keller 1-4 (2 SB, RBI, R), A. Arnett 1-4 (1 R), Hartley 1-3 (2B, SB, 3 RBI), Riehl 1-2 (BB), N. Arnett 1-3 (1 R), Burk 2-3 (2B, R), Dwyer 2-2 (SAC, 2 SB, RBI, R), Howard 1-3 (1 R).
Records—Trimble 12-12; Valley 14-8.