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Valley cruises on reserve power to reach bracket final

June 28, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

CLEAR SPRING - The Valley Little League 9-10 All-Stars had the floodgates opened by unlikely sources Friday night against Clear Spring in the winnner's bracket action of the District 1 Tournament.

From there, it was a seemingly endless stream of offense.

Reserves Cole Huntzberry and Ramon Breland hit back-to-back doubles to start a three-run fourth for a 7-6 lead and Valley flowed to turn in a 14-6 rout.

"Awesome job by Cole Huntzberry and Ramon Breland," said Valley coach Frank Bywaters. "They came in cold off the bench and hit two line drives for us. That was the momentum switch."

Huntzberry doubled down the left-field line and scored on Breland's shot to the right-center field gap. Breland scored on a Jordan Tapley single to knot the game at 6-6 and Tapley later scored on a passed ball for a 7-6 Valley edge.

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Valley put the game away by sending 11 batters to the plate in a seven-run fifth - helped by a pair of errors - for a 14-6 lead.

Valley, averaging 13.7 runs in the tournament, finished with 12 hits.

"The whole team makes great contact. We've only struck out a couple of times in each of our games," Bywaters said. "We're putting the pressure on the other team to make the plays."

Tyler Olson pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief without allowing an earned run. He came in for Austin Jones, who gave up only one hit but labored through six walks and a hit batsman.

"You just can't know from day to day if a pitcher is going to come out and throw strikes or struggle with wildness," Bywaters said. "The good thing about this team is we have a lot of depth."

Valley gave up two runs in each of the first three innings as it fell behind 6-4 before Olson came in and provided the much-needed consistency on the mound.

Spencer Schultz, Collin Willhite, Jared Barnes and Aaron Schlotterbeck had the only hits for Clear Spring.

"(Olson) is probably our best control pitcher, so if we need strikes we know we can go to him," Bywaters said. "He's been doing that all season."

Jones led Valley with three hits, while cleanup hitter Joey Schwartz had two hits and drove in three runs after homering in his previous game. Tapley finished 2-for-2 and scored in each of his three plate appearances.

Valley will travel to play Hancock in the winner's bracket final this morning at 11 a.m., while Clear Spring drops into the loser's bracket and will host Halfway, also at 11.

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