WHEELERSBURG — Trey Carter didn’t have his best stuff Tuesday night.
Wheelersburg’s senior southpaw ace had just one inning where he retired the side in order and was constantly working out of self-created jams.
But as much as he may have struggled, he surrendered just one run in five innings, leading Wheelersburg (15-4, 11-1 SOC II) to an 11-1 win over Valley in conference play.
That’s scary, considering how much success Carter can have … even on an off night.
“I give him a lot of credit tonight. He didn’t have his best stuff but he did what seniors are supposed to do. When you don’t have your best stuff, you battle,” Wheelersburg coach Derek Moore said. “He grinded. He gave up one [run] in the second, walked a few but he did a good job of bouncing back. So a lot of credit to him. It was good for us to get the bats out for him.”
Carter’s opponent on the hill, Valley’s Tanner Cunningham, didn’t have the luxury of lumber. Carter held the Indians (9-12, 6-8 SOC II) at bay and Valley’s defense behind its star pitcher didn’t play well when pressured.
“Credit to him. Last year, he had our number twice and threw really well out at Valley,” Moore said. “Tonight, we knew he likes to get ahead with fastballs. So we wanted to be fastball-approach ready, hit the ball around the yard and we did that. We were pretty locked in.”
The Pirates struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Trey Carter and Jalen Miller both reached base and with two outs and two on, Will Darling laced a two-run double to draw first blood.
Valley answered in the top of the when Jared Morrow logged an RBI single but that was the only blemish on Carter’s final line. Wheelersburg scored three in the bottom half of the third, thanks to a sacrifice fly from Will Darling, a defensive miscue and an RBI single via Cooper McKenzie.
Leading 5-1 in the fourth, Trey Carter, Jalen Miller and Connor Mullins all scored on passed balls, extending the lead to 8-1. Athen Temponeras then made it 9-1 with an RBI single.
Carter breezed through the fifth, allowing his offense to come back to the plate and score two more in the fifth to end the night.
Needing three straight SOC II wins against Valley, Oak Hill and Waverly to clinch a share of the conference title, the Pirates have now completed step one.
They’ll now look towards Oak Hill Wednesday night and travel to Waverly on May 8, concluding their SOC II slate.
“Oak Hill is a good team and they’ve been playing well,” Moore said. “We’ll be in for a battle. But I’m glad we’re on our home turf. Then we’re at Waverly and that’s going to be a tough one. It’s always hard to play at Waverly. They’re playing good ball as well. Like I told the guys before the game, it’s a three-game season right now. Tonight was part one, Tuesday’s going to be part two. I’m proud of how the guys played tonight.”