By CODY LEIST
PDT Sports Writer
WHEELERSBURG — Earlier in the season, the Wheelersburg lost a game to Boyd County (Ky.) despite two Pirate pitchers combining to throw a no-hitter.
Thursday, Wheelersburg had two hits. But it was the free pass that proved to be the Pirates’ best asset Thursday as they defeated visiting Valley 5-0 and claiming a perfect 14-0 record in the SOC II for the first time since 2008.
Even Wheelersburg coach Michael Estep was stunned about the hitting statistic when brought up. But no matter how strange the game is, the number zero in the loss column was all that mattered on this day.
“It’s always goal number one in the pecking order,” Estep said. “You want to try to take care of your conference and we knew Valley and a few of the other teams were going to be competitive in the league this year.”
Indians starter Rob Dwyer struggled to find the strike zone when he first took the hill. In one-plus inning of work, he walked four, hit a batter and was charged with the first three runs.
“It was one of those things where we didn’t throw strikes and then we didn’t execute some plays by keeping balls in front of us,” Valley coach Dean Schuler said.
Luke Keller started the game with a single and eventually found himself on third with one out. That was the only time Pirates starter Derek Moore allowed a runner to be that close to scoring as he struck out eight for his ninth win of the year.
“We put the ball in play but still it was one of those things where we sat and looked at a lot of good fastballs,” Schuler said. “All (Moore) does is throw the ball across the plate and challenge hitters.”
Wade Martin’s single in the first drove in Austin Boyer for the game’s first run. Garrett Carmichael had a single to start the second for Wheelersburg as a part of the two-run second.
Those were all the hits allowed by Dwyer and Patrick Riehl. The Pirates instead drew eight walks in the contest.
“I think the best thing we did today was on the bases,” Estep said. “We were able to take advantage of balls in the dirt.”
Austin Hall scored on a passed ball and an RBI groundout by Clay Massie to bring in Ben Arnold in the fifth capped the scoring. Estep was glad to get the win in the regular season home finale for six seniors.
The Indians host Zane Trace tomorrow as a part of a makeup from last month’s washout. Wheelersburg sits and waits until late next week to take on either Coal Grove or Portsmouth in a Division III Southeast Sectional Final.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valley 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 5 0
Wheelersburg 1 2 0 0 2 0 x — 5 2 0
Valley — Keller 1-3, A. Arnett 0-2 (SAC), Hartley 0-2 (BB), Rowe 1-3, Riehl 1-3, N. Arnett 2-3 (2B).
Wheelersburg — Hood 0-3 (BB), Boyer 0-3 (BB, R), Hall 0-2 (BB), Arnold 0-1 (2 BB, R), Martin 1-2 (SAC, RBI), Shears 0-0 (2 BB, HBP, SB), Massie 0-3 (RBI), CArmichael 1-3 (SB, R), Moore 0-2 (BB, R).
W — Moore (9-0)
L — Dwyer (n/a)
Records — Valley 12-7 (10-4); Wheelersburg 23-2 (14-0).