LUCASVILLE — These young Indians are indeed getting good at playing from a deficit.
That’s because Valley, for the second baseball game in as many days, fell behind early —but quickly went ahead and eventually stayed there.
On Wednesday, the Indians turned that trick on the visiting Oak Hill Oaks, as Valley amounted the final four runs for a 4-1 Southern Ohio Conference Division II triumph.
A day earlier, in a key non-league bout at Clay, the Indians erased a 4-0 first-inning deficit —and prevailed 11-8 after scoring 11 of the game’s 12 runs in one stretch.
The Indians almost made it three official come-from-behind victories in as many days — erasing a 1-0 deficit at Minford with a tying run before losing 2-1 to the Falcons in eight innings.
The Oaks’ actual run on Wednesday was via stolen base in their initial at-bat, as Carter Nickel righted the Valley ship with his bat first — and then with his arm.
Nickel’s 97-pitch performance spanned a solid six innings, as he scattered only four hits with three walks and three hit batsmen.
He also had three strikeouts, and stranded eight Oaks including four in scoring position —in innings one, three, four and six.
Nickel hit Aidan Hall (first), Landon Hines (third) and Dylan Venegas (sixth) with pitches, but he minimized any damage after Oak Hill’s only run.
His walks were to Mason Davis in the fourth, Isaiah Needham in the fifth and finally Hines in the seventh, as the Indians ended the game with third baseman Andrew Andronis turning a double play.
The Oaks’ only hits were by Needham in the first, Braylon Howell in the sixth and Nate Clutters in the seventh, as Christopher Queen —for the second straight day —come on in relief in the seventh stanza and gained the save with a three-run lead.
Clutters had singled and Hines had walked to start the seventh, then with one out, Andronis doubled up Clutters.
Queen faced one batter and recorded a strikeout against Clay, and threw just six pitches against Oak Hill.
Ryan Sams, who tossed 92 pitches and allowed only one earned run in going the distance, suffered the pitching loss.
He walked two and plunked a pair, but only allowed four hits and struck out six.
Valley tied the game at 1-1 in the second when Chase Morrow singled, advanced to second on an error, went to third on a groundout, and scored on Nickel’s RBI-single.
The Indians — in the fourth — amassed their two runs on a combination of an Oak Hill error, a walk to Morrow, a fielder’s choice, a passed ball, a stolen base, a wild pitch, and finally a walk to Nickel.
Morrow and Queen came in to score and make it 3-1 — as in the fifth Breckon Williams was hit by a pitch, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a two-out RBI-single by George Arnett.
The Indians’ only other basehit was a first-inning leadoff single by Andronis, who actually reached third on a wild pitch and fielder’s choice.
Oak Hill’s run was scored by Hines, who reached on a two-base error to lead off, advanced on Needham’s single, and then stole home.
Nickel then hit Hall with a pitch, but came back with back-to-back strikeouts to strand the Oaks at first and second — and got going from there.
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