By CODY LEIST
PDT Sports Writer
LUCASVILLE — A pitcher’s best friend may be himself.
At least that’s how it was for Valley starter Patrick Riehl. The senior was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with three runs batted in while going six-plus innings as the hosts and No. 1 Indians defeated No. 8 Western 8-0 in a Division IV Southeast Sectional Final.
“He did what he needed to do as a senior,” Valley coach Dean Schuler said. “He went out, pitched a really nice game for the most part — we had one error — but we played defense behind him.”
Riehl threw six-plus innings Wednesday in which he struck out 10 and walked three to improve his record to 5-1 on the season. Colton Ross’ one-out single in the sixth broke up Riehl’s no-hit bid.
By that point in time, the purple and gold had already taken control of the game with a 6-0 advantage. The most damage came in the bottom of the first with a four-run frame for the hosts.
Although Valley recorded seven hits in the contests, it was the way the Indians were able to get to visiting starter Robert Russell. The southpaw walked seven and hit a batter.
“The biggest thing I’m proud of was our aggressiveness at the plate today,” Schuler said. “Even our outs were good outs.”
Only one extra-base hit was recorded in the contest. That came off the bat of Will Howard in the bottom of the fifth when he finished up with an RBI triple that scored Rob Dwyer.
After walking Russell to lead off the seventh, Riehl threw two pitches to Colton Grooms before upper body tenderness forced him out and allowed Nate Arnett to finish the contest. Arnett struck out Grooms, induced a Dakota Garrett groundout and struck out Brian May to end the game.
Schuler believes the change helped out his team since Arnett, described as the team’s reliever, was given an opportunity to see some action Wednesday night. Nonetheless, Schuler feels Riehl will have enough rest leading up to Sunday’s district semifinal against No. 5 Trimble.
The Tomcats defeated No. 4 Symmes Valley 3-1.
“The bottom line is that we’ve got to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Schuler said.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 1 5
Valley 4 1 0 0 1 2 x — 8 7 1
Western — Ross 1-3 (SB), Henderson 0-2 (BB), Russell 0-2 (BB), Grooms 0-2 (BB), Wessel 0-2 (BB).
Valley — Keller 0-3 (HBP, R), A. Arnett 0-3 (SAC), Hartley 0-2 (2 BB, SB, 2 R), Rowe 1-3 (BB, SB, 2 R), Riehl 3-3 (BB, 3 RBI, R), N. Arnett 1-3 (BB, SAC, RBI), Burk 0-3 (BB), Dwyer 1-2 (BB, RBI, R), Howard 1-2 (3B, BB, 2 RBI), Garrett 0-0 (R).
W — Riehl (5-1)
L — Russell (2-6)
Records — Western 9-12; Valley 13-8.