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Miller helps Valley toast win over West End

June 27, 2007|By TRAVIS KING / Staff Correspondent

CHEWSVILLE - If it came down to a choice between many strikeouts or hitting a home run, Josh Miller would immediately pick the homer.

Lucky for the Valley starting pitcher, he didn't have to choose.

Miller put his bat and his arm to good use, striking out nine to go with a two-run homer in the first inning to lead Valley to a 13-3, five-inning win over West End in the first round of the Maryland District 1 9-10 All-Star Tournament at Aaron Steiner Field.

Miller's homer allowed Valley to bust out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Boo Jordan drew a two-out walk to set up Miller's blast over the center-field fence. Kyle Bywaters, who ran for Josh Mades after he doubled, stole third and scored on Nik Steiner's single.

Miller protected the lead by taking charge on the mound, striking out six of the first eight West End hitters he faced - including the first four of the game. He lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out nine and walking three.

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"It felt pretty good and I knew that if I pitched them inside, it would be a good game," said Miller. "I still liked the home run more than the pitching."

"Hitting wasn't really an issue," said Valley manager Tim Hartsock. "We expect Josh to take charge."

West End retaliated in the third with two runs on RBI singles by starting pitcher Aaron Martin and Cody Reeder. Valley answered with what came to be the go-ahead run in the bottom of the frame when Josh Bloyer drove in Timmy Hartsock with a fielder's choice.

Austin Jones led off Valley's five-run fourth with a single, took third on an error and scored on Holden Hershey's sacrifice fly. West End, frustrated by Valley's aggressive base-running, contributed to the rally with five errors.

"We do a lot of running in practice," said Tim Hartsock. "We know that's our bread and butter. The kids know it the best."

Vincent Henry Jr., drove in Martin in the fifth inning for West End to cut the deficit to 9-3.

Valley ended the game by the 10-run rule with four runs in the fifth, capped by Jordan's RBI single to score Hartsock.

Jordan, Jones and Timmy Hartsock had two hits each for Valley. Jordan drove in two runs.

Martin, who allowed six hits while striking out four in four innings, had two hits for West End.

Valley will host National in a winners' bracket game today at 6 p.m.

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