CHILLICOTHE — With Valley’s George Arnett and Meigs’ Ethan Stewart on the mound for their respective teams in Tuesday’s Division III district semifinal, all in attendance at VA Memorial Stadium were expecting a stellar pitching duel.
Even Valley coach Nolan Crabtree admitted as much following the Indians’ 2-0 win over the Marauders to reach the program’s fourth district baseball final in the last five seasons.
“Our guys were ready to execute, we did what we were supposed to do. Told the coaches that two runs was going to win this game,” Crabtree said. “Only took one because of how good George was.”
Ultimately, it was Valley which plated a pair of runs against the Ohio University commit Stewart — and Arnett who tossed a complete game shutout.
On 86 pitches, the senior Arnett allowed just four hits, issued two walks, and struck out 12 Meigs batters.
Crabtree described his outing on the hill as “phenomenal”.
“We had scouted these guys, and I knew they were going to have trouble with George’s breaking ball,” Crabtree said. “He was phenomenal, maybe the best he’s ever been.”
Valley junior Jace Copley drove in senior Colt Buckle for the Indians’ first run on a RBI-sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third.
Buckle singled to start the Valley third, was bunted to second by Jaekyn Ridout, and advanced to third on the first of three costly Meigs errors.
Meigs’ second and third errors came in the sixth and allowed another Valley run to score in freshman Gabe McNeil.
McNeil courtesy ran for Carson Powell, who reached with two outs on a Meigs error.
Valley advanced to the program’s fourth district final since the 2018 season.
In each of those chances when making the final, Valley has ultimately won the district final — in ‘18 as a D-III program, and in 2021 and ‘22 in Division IV.
“We compete against these teams in D-II, D-III; it doesn’t matter. I knew with our pitching staff we were going to be able to compete every time out. Being back in the district final, playing at the VA — it brings an extra level of excitement for our kids,” Crabtree said. “Really proud of them because I challenged them and they were excellent tonight.”
Waiting for the No. 5 seed Indians in Thursday’s D-III, Southeast District No. 2 district final was a Scioto County foe — the No. 2 seed Portsmouth Trojans.
Portsmouth was playing for its first district title since 1996.
“They (Portsmouth) played a great game earlier. I’m sure we’re going to see Vinnie (Lonardo), we’ve got Carter (Nickel) ready to go and have Carson Powell if needed. I like our chances, just have to play the same type of game we did today,” Crabtree. “Clean defense, execute and find a way to scrape together a couple of runs.”
Meigs 000 000 0 — 0 4 3
Valley 001 001 X — 2 5 1
W: George Arnett (V) 7IP, 4H, 0ER, 2BB, 12K; L: Ethan Stewart (M) 6IP, 5H, 1ER, 0BB, 4K
G. Cleland 1-3
E. Stewart 0-1, 2BB
J. Martin 1-3
B. Hawley 1-3
W. Mayer 1-1
Jaekyn Ridouut 1-2
Jace Copley 0-2, RBI
Chris Queen 1-2
Tate Queen 1-3
George Arnett 1-3
Colt Buckle 1-2, R
Gabe McNeil 0-0, R
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved