Rough start, late surge ends Valley’s run


By Paul Boggs - [email protected]



Valley third baseman Tate Queen fires a throw to first base during the Indians’ Division IV Region 15 semifinal baseball game against Newark Catholic on Thursday at Lancaster’s Beavers Field.

Valley third baseman Tate Queen fires a throw to first base during the Indians’ Division IV Region 15 semifinal baseball game against Newark Catholic on Thursday at Lancaster’s Beavers Field.


Courtesy of Patrick Phillips of Glory Days Photography

LANCASTER — By George, it wasn’t supposed to go THIS way for the Valley Indians.

Not for ace pitcher George Arnett, not for Valley sole seniors Chase Morrow and Landon Jones, and certainly not for the legion of Indian Nation baseball fans.

But, unfortunately for Valley, Arnett and the Indians endured a title wave of early hits from the Newark Catholic Green Wave —as NC banged out a dozen, and ended up knocking the Indians out of the Division IV postseason tournament.

Newark Catholic, one of the top small-school baseball programs in the entire state, cranked out four first-inning runs on five consecutive hits and two Indian throwing errors —as Valley fell 6-1 on Thursday in a Region 15 semifinal, at spacious and sunsoaked Beavers Field in Lancaster.

The Indians were a Division IV state semifinalist from last season, and aimed strongly to repeat as Region 15 champions, but ran into a hitting buzzsaw —and Eli Morris on the mound —in the form of the now 23-6 Green Wave.

Arnett, after back-to-back strikeouts to open his day, was the victim of five consecutive NC basehits —three doubles to the gaps sandwiched around back-to-back singles to center, and combined with two untimely throwing errors.

The result was a quite shocking 4-0 Indian deficit after the opening inning —three of Arnett’s allowed runs being earned.

Indeed, it was out of the ordinary for Valley to be behind at any point —especially with the dependable, durable and fast-working Arnett.

He pitched the first five frames for the Indians, giving up 10 hits and one walk with four earned of his five runs.

Carter Nickel relieved him in the sixth, giving up back-to-back leadoff infield singles —as the Green Wave weaved in a force play, a sacrifice fly, and a passed ball for its sixth and final run.

Their Newark Catholic counterpart Morris mashed the baseball, going a perfect 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs batted in.

“They hit the ball hard. Their second one (hit), (center-fielder) Carter (Nickel) took a false step in, but I still don’t think he gets that one. They follow it up with one after another. Not much you can say about that. They hit the ball hard and found holes,” said Valley coach Nolan Crabtree. “We tightened it up after that, but it was too little too late. We were in a tough spot.”

Being behind 4-0, indeed they were.

The Indians’ at-bats weren’t bad, but they didn’t produce positive results on the scoreboard.

At least not until the final inning with Valley trailing 6-0.

A two-out Tate Queen single to left in the first, a Jaekyn Ridout infield single in the second, a Tate Queen leadoff walk in the fourth, a pitch which hit Ridout in the sixth, and a two-out Arnett single in the sixth were Valley’s only baserunners until the last.

Morris struck out only three, but induced the Indians into hard-hit baseballs — directly at Green Wave defenders.

In the seventh, Valley averted the shutout when Hunter Edwards and Jace Copley led off with singles, then following a 6-4-3 double play, Nickel knocked in the only Indian run —a single to left which plated Edwards from third.

“Wanted to chip away. Tate (Queen) had a hit in the first, and we struck out only three times. We barrelled the ball, hit the ball right at them, but we didn’t get lucky today,” said Crabtree. “To their (Green Wave) credit, they made the routine plays, and made some tough plays too. I think there in the last inning, we barrelled every single ball. The inning before, we get a couple guys on, we hit two line drives right at the right fielder. That’s baseball.”

But unfortunately, the Indians ended their 22-4 2022 season two tilts too early.

It actually left the well-spoken, and baseball-minded, Crabtree somewhat at a loss for words.

“I don’t have much to say as far as what happened at the plate. They hit the ball today into the gaps and we didn’t,” said the coach. “We hit the ball and they made the plays.”

Valley third baseman Tate Queen fires a throw to first base during the Indians’ Division IV Region 15 semifinal baseball game against Newark Catholic on Thursday at Lancaster’s Beavers Field.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/06/web1_Valley-NC-Tate-Queen-.jpgValley third baseman Tate Queen fires a throw to first base during the Indians’ Division IV Region 15 semifinal baseball game against Newark Catholic on Thursday at Lancaster’s Beavers Field. Courtesy of Patrick Phillips of Glory Days Photography

By Paul Boggs

[email protected]

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved