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Born to run - Valley rules basepaths to scoot past Halfway on tourney trail

July 12, 2008|By CONNER GILBERT

HALFWAY - For the second straight game, the Valley All-Stars used a total-team effort to earn a win.

"These are 13 nice kids who get along real well," said Valley manager Tim Hartsock. "They support each other, and it's peer pressure that makes them play hard for each other."

Valley defeated Halfway 10-4 in a Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament losers' bracket game. Valley will host Maugansville today at 5 p,m.

In the bottom of the first, Valley scored a pair of runs on a wild pitch and a passed ball. Josh Miller's RBI single to shortstop put Valley up 3-0.

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Valley's aggressive baserunning led to more runs in the second. Nik Steiner stole home, Kyle Huntzberry scored on an error and Hartsock came home on a wild pitch to give Valley a 6-0 lead.

"These kids love to run," said Hartsock. "Halfway's pitchers threw a lot of curveballs in the dirt, so that gave us a chance to take off."

Halfway got on the board in the fourth with back-to-back RBI singles from Brandon Jackson and Zach Barr, cutting Valley's lead to 6-2.

But Valley got both runs back in the bottom half of the inning when Quintin Zimmerman blasted a two-run homer to center field.

"Quintin had a huge hit for us," said Hartsock.

Josh Miller added an RBI single to right to increase Valley's lead to 9-2.

Halfway responded in the fifth when Austin Loar scored on a defensive interference call and Ryan Boward hit a run-scoring single to center, making it 9-4.

But Valley upped its lead to 10-4 in the bottom of the fifth on Austin Stone's RBI double to right.

Valley got a strong start from J.R. Rinehart, who pitched a complete game, yielding four runs on six hits and a walk. Rinehart struck out eight batters, many swinging at a nasty curveball.

"J.R. has a very intimidating curveball when he gets it over the plate," Hartsock said. "It makes his fastballs look 10 miles per hour faster."

Valley was also aided by slick fielding.

"We've worked hard on defense," said Hartsock. "A lot of times, it's easy to fall asleep when J.R. pitches since he strikes out so many guys, but they didn't."

As in Valley's previous win, Hartsock said he was impressed by his team's composure.

"We started to unravel a little bit late in the game," he said. "But we calmed down right away."

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