Crank, Falcons walk it off in 14th


Minford, Valley split season series

By Jacob Smith - [email protected]



Minford sophomore Carson Cronin (3) scored the game-winning run ahead of the tag from Valley’s George Arnett (1) and Jace Copley (13) in the bottom of the 14th inning of Thursday’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II contest.

Minford sophomore Carson Cronin (3) scored the game-winning run ahead of the tag from Valley’s George Arnett (1) and Jace Copley (13) in the bottom of the 14th inning of Thursday’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II contest.


Courtesy of Guy Queen, Queenpics

Minford junior Cole Borland (11) allowed one hit and no earned runs in three and two-thirds innings of relief during the Falcons’ 2-1 win over Valley in 14 innings.


Courtesy of Guy Queen, Queenpics

Minford junior Adam Crank (5) delivered with a walk-off RBI single during the Falcons’ 2-1 win over Valley in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play.


Courtesy of Guy Queen, Queenpics

MINFORD — It simply wouldn’t be a Minford-Valley baseball game without late-game dramatics.

Facing a 1-2 count and a runner in sophomore Carson Cronin in scoring position and the game tied 1-1 since the fourth, Falcons junior Adam Crank delivered the go-ahead single in the bottom of the 14th in walk-off fashion.

Valley and Minford took back to the Falcon’s Nest on Thursday following the suspension of last Wednesday’s game in the bottom of the 12th — and it ultimately took two full games to decide a winner.

A scoreless seven extra innings by both teams looked as if it was in the works, until Crank delivered the knockout blow to split the season series between the Falcons (11-5, 10-3 SOC II) and Indians (12-1, 11-1 SOC II).

“We knew if we could keep getting to the top of the lineup, those guys have been hitting great. Adam’s been very consistent and one of our better hitters all year,” Minford coach Anthony Knittel said, afterwards. “With two strikes, he’s one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen. Puts the ball in play and some great base-running by Carson. They had a great throw in from the outfield. It felt good, good for our kids to come out and get this win.”

After entering in relief in the 10th inning of starter Noah Martin, Minford junior Cole Borland pitched the final three and two-thirds innings — including when play resumed on Thursday.

Borland allowed just two hits on 59 pitches and with the help of his defense, kept Valley off the scoreboard in the extra frames. In his last appearance on the hill, Borland threw a no-hitter during Minford’s 3-0 win over Firelands at VA Memorial Stadium last Saturday.

Simply put, the junior right-hander has been on a roll.

“Cole’s a competitor. He’s proven and said since the very beginning he’s wanted the ball in his hands,” Knittel said. “One of the hardest-working kids in the offseason. He pitched some for us last year but not too much. He’s put the work the in and has been consistent for us all year.”

In the top of the 13th, Valley threatened in a major way. The Indians loaded the bases with one out on a walk by senior Chase Morrow, a double in the left center gap by freshman Tate Queen, and an intentional walk to junior Chris Queen.

Morrow was picked-off at third base by Minford freshman catcher JD Matiz — and a hard hit ball to center field by Valley sophomore Jace Copley was caught on the fly by Minford sophomore Mason Book to end the potential scoring opportunity.

Valley also committed four defensive errors in the game — including one way back in the fourth inning that helped plate the first Minford run.

“We had our chances. They got the hit in the clutch, did the things we didn’t do,” Valley coach Nolan Crabtree said. “It was a weird setting how things were set up. But plain in simple, we made more mistakes in a short period of time than we usually make in a two-week period. Have to get to get back at it and can’t let this one eat at us.”

Valley now enters the home-stretch of the regular season tied in the loss-column with Wheelersburg (12-5, 11-1 SOC II) for first place in the SOC II race.

The Indians traveled to Portsmouth West on Friday, will host Oak Hill on Monday, and head to Pirate Country on Wednesday in what may ultimately be the game to decide league supremacy.

“It’s just one game at a time. You’ve got to show up to play every night because it’s a tough league,” Crabtree said. “Game tomorrow night at West, hope to get our heads back in gear and play some baseball.”

With the win over Valley, the Falcons find themselves as winners of six-straight games and Knittel believes they’re playing there best baseball of the season up to this point.

“Moving forward, don’t look at the big picture just focus on the task at hand. Couldn’t be more proud of these kids and the fight — they’re hungry,” Knittel said. “We’ve lost more games this year than we did the last two years, but you mature a lot by losing games. Getting them to understand that it’s okay to lose, come back and fix the little things and the results will speak for themselves.”

***

BOX SCORE

Valley 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 10 4

Minford 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 2 11 1

Valley hitting

George Arnett 0-6, BB

Chase Morrow 1-5, BB

Tate Queen 3-6

Chris Queen 0-4, 2BB

Landon Jones 1-4, 2BB

Hunter Edwards 1-5

Colt Buckle 2-6, R

Jaekyn Ridout 2-6, RBI

Minford hitting

JD Matiz 1-7

Adam Crank 2-7, RBI

Aodhan Queen 2-5, BB

Noah Martin 0-5, BB

Rhyan Queen 1-5, R

Branson Alley 2-5

Cole Borland 2-5

Carson Cronin 1-6, R

Pitching

George Arnett (V) 11.1IP, 12H, 0ER, 2BB, 6K (L)

Carter Nickel (V) 2.1IP, 0H, 0ER, 1BB, 6K

Noah Martin (M) 10.1IP, 9H, 1ER, 2BB, 8K

Cole Borland (M) 3.2IP, 1H, 4BB, 3K (W)

Minford sophomore Carson Cronin (3) scored the game-winning run ahead of the tag from Valley’s George Arnett (1) and Jace Copley (13) in the bottom of the 14th inning of Thursday’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II contest.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/04/web1_Carson-Cronin-_-Minford-Valley.jpgMinford sophomore Carson Cronin (3) scored the game-winning run ahead of the tag from Valley’s George Arnett (1) and Jace Copley (13) in the bottom of the 14th inning of Thursday’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II contest. Courtesy of Guy Queen, Queenpics

Minford junior Cole Borland (11) allowed one hit and no earned runs in three and two-thirds innings of relief during the Falcons’ 2-1 win over Valley in 14 innings.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/04/web1_cole-Borland-_-Minford-Valley.jpgMinford junior Cole Borland (11) allowed one hit and no earned runs in three and two-thirds innings of relief during the Falcons’ 2-1 win over Valley in 14 innings. Courtesy of Guy Queen, Queenpics

Minford junior Adam Crank (5) delivered with a walk-off RBI single during the Falcons’ 2-1 win over Valley in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/04/web1_Adam-Crank-_-Minford-Valley.jpgMinford junior Adam Crank (5) delivered with a walk-off RBI single during the Falcons’ 2-1 win over Valley in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play. Courtesy of Guy Queen, Queenpics
Minford, Valley split season series

By Jacob Smith

[email protected]

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved