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Valley uses delay to make hay

July 02, 2009|By CONNER GILBERT/Staff Correspondent

Sometimes, teams suffer from a lack of focus after rain delays.

But when play was suspended in the bottom of the second inning of Wednesday's Maryland District 1 Junior Tournament game with South Mountain, the Valley Junior All-Stars took advantage of the time off to refocus.

"They had some nerves on Wednesday," said Valley manager John Rinehart. "But the rain delay helped. They came back and were on today."

When the game resumed on Thursday at Chestnut Grove Park, Valley came back for a 9-1 victory over South Mountain.

South Mountain took the lead in the top of the second when Dave Wilbraham's RBI single made it 1-0.

South Mountain seemed to be cruising behind the pitching of Gunnar Whipp, who struck out four of the six batters he faced before the rain in the bottom of the second.

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But on Thursday, Valley was finally ready to respond.

Valley loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth and scored eight runs on three singles, two wild pitches, a passed ball, a walk and an error to take an 8-1 lead.

"We showed a lot of patience," said Rinehart. "There are 14 kids on this team and they are all very patient hitters who pick pitches they can handle."

Valley padded its lead in the sixth when Hunter Nalley singled, stole second base and scored on an infield error to make it 9-1.

Meanwhile, Valley's pitching helped their lead stand up. Corey Scharenbroch and J.R. Rinehart combined to pitch seven innings, allowing just three hits and two walks.

"Corey did a good job starting the game," said Rinehart. "Then we made the change to J.R. and it worked."

The rain delay ended up becoming a blessing.

"They showed a lot of confidence," he said. "They came prepared and were focused and it showed today."

Valley travels to play Conococheague today at 5:30 p.m.

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