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Valley wins to open its title defense

July 09, 2006|by JACK HILL III / Staff Correspondent

HALFWAY - Valley took the first step toward defending its district title by defeating Halfway 4-1 on Saturday afternoon in the Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament.

"We have six returners," Valley manager Greg Spickler said. "That will make a big difference for us in tournament experience. It was just a good team victory. We really focused on defense, because we knew that we had to play good defense and keep the run count down against a good quality pitcher like Brett Barr."

Valley pitcher Luke Toms got the upper hand against Barr, giving up no earned runs and three hits in six innings to get the complete-game win.

"I just wanted to win the first game," Toms said. "I just wanted to strike out a lot of kids and help us win. Robbie Hogue and Brad Spickler got the big hits in the four-run fifth inning and that helped to boost up my confidence."

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Toms and Barr were locked in a scoreless duel through four innings before Halfway broke through in the top of the fifth. Ethan Coblentz and Corey Robison walked to begin the inning. Robison was erased at second on a ground ball by Robbie Vinson, but Vinson advanced to second base and Coblentz scored when the throw went past the first baseman on the double-play attempt.

Valley answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Tyler McKenzie reached on an infield error and Ryne Willard got a one-out single to send McKenzie to third. Willard took second on the throw.

Hogue gave Valley the lead with a two-run single, Dick Martin walked and Kameron Morral reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Spickler capped the rally with a two-run double to center.

"We fell short on hitting today," Halfway manager Denny Hadley said. "Our defense broke down a little bit in the fifth inning and Valley took advantage of their opportunities."

Barr finished with eight strikeouts.

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