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Valley responds, knocks out National

July 09, 2008|By NEIL WRONA / Staff Correspondent

The Valley All-Stars stayed alive in the Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament on Tuesday by using a boxer's mentality: Know how to take a punch, then deliver an effective counterpunch.

Every time National landed a jab to tie the score, Valley countered with a body blow to regain the lead before landing the knockout punch in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 9-4 win at Staley Field.

National rebounded from 1-0 and 4-1 deficits to tie the score, but couldn't answer Valley's five-run fifth.

"This was only our second game together, so we had a bit of trouble jelling, but we played well," said National manager Jumbo Murray.

Austin Stone and Bryan Tracy started the Valley fifth with back-to-back singles, setting up Josh Miller's three-run homer to straightaway center field for a 7-4 lead.

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J.R. Rinehart singled to left and took second on an error. After moving to third on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt, Rinehart scored on a wild pitch.

The final run of the inning came with Yusif Bayoh on third. Timmy Hartsock drew a walk and rounded first, drawing the attention of the National defense. Bayoh took advantage and broke for home, giving Valley a 9-4 lead.

"He saw the opportunity and took it," Tim Hartsock said. "It was a really intelligent play."

Noah Wright led off the top of the sixth with a double, giving hope for another National rally, but he was left stranded.

Timmy Hartsock drove in two runs and Kyle Huntzberry had one RBI for Valley, which will host the Hancock-Sharpsburg winner Thursday at 6.

Jeff Bennett hit a two-run homer and Josh Miller added a solo blast for National.

"Valley just brought a team to play today," Murray said. "They made some defensive plays around us and shut us down."

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