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Valley moves into driver's seat

July 02, 2007|By TRAVIS KING / Staff Correspondent

For some teams, facing an offense that put up 25 runs in two tournament games might turn up the pressure.

For Valley Little League, it was just another game.

Valley gave up just seven hits to Halfway, pitching out of several late jams to secure an 8-4 win in the winners' bracket final of the Maryland District 1 9-10 All-Star Tournament.

Austin Jones, pitching in relief of Valley starter Timmy Hartsock, loaded the bases in both the fifth and sixth innings, but only surrendered one run to Halfway.

"Austin's a real laid back guy. A situation like that, it doesn't faze him," said Valley manager Tim Hartsock. "We wanted him to come in and pitch."

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Two walks and a bunt single loaded the bases for Valley in the top of the first inning before Hunter Martin drew a one-out bases-loaded walk, scoring Timmy Hartsock to take a 1-0 lead.

Valley used its quickness in the second inning to extend the lead to 3-0. Nik Steiner dropped down a bunt single to drive in Tanner Bachtell and ran all the way to third on the throw to Halfway catcher Chris Harrell. Steiner then scored on a fielder's choice bunt from Hartsock.

Halfway cut the lead to two runs in its half of the second inning. Matt Clopper had Halfway's first hit, a bloop single down the left-field line. He later scored on a single by Harrell that fell between three Valley defenders.

Kyle Bywaters' RBI fielder's choice extended Valley's lead to 4-1 in the third inning.

In the fourth, Halfway took advantage of three hits, including a double by Seth Bailey that plated two runs, to close the gap again.

Facing a 6-3 deficit with one out in the fifth inning, Halfway loaded the bases on two walks and a Clopper single. Tim Hartsock pulled Timmy Hartsock from the mound, replacing him with Jones, who got Chase Eichelberger to hit into a fielder's choice to the catcher and Alec Wingerd to line out to center field, escaping with no runs allowed in the inning.

"We have some great pitchers here, but our defense really gives them confidence," said Tim Hartsock. "I joke that we would rather have the other team hit it off a tee because our defense is so good."

Valley added two insurance runs in the sixth. Timmy Hartsock walked and Josh Miller was later walked intentionally - his third intentional free pass of the game. Josh Mades followed with a two-run double to pad Valley's lead.

"We were hoping Josh (Mades) would get a little confidence boost. That's why we hit him behind Josh Miller, to make the other team regret walking (Miller) so much," Tim Hartsock said.

Halfway loaded the bases again in the sixth when Harrell, Bailey and Jeremiah Younker drew consecutive walks, and scored a run on a Zach Andrews groundout. The next two batters, however, grounded out to Miller at first base to end the game.

Boo Jordan had two hits, Martin tripled, and Holden Hershey drove in a run with a sacrifice fly for Valley. Timmy Hartsock went 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out three.

For Halfway, Clopper and Harrell had two hits each while Matt Malphurs walked twice and Younker hit a ground-rule double. Starter Stephen Ashby pitched three innings, striking out three and giving up just two hits.

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