Kolich steals win for Valley

July 11, 2011|By KYLE RAIOS | Staff Correspondent

CHEWSVILLE — Valley All-Star Ryan Kolich made a daring steal of home in the bottom of the fifth inning to score the run that would make all the difference in a 4-3 victory over Hancock in a Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament losers’ bracket game Monday.

“It was a nailbiter there at the end. We expected it to be closer, and it played out that way,” Hancock manager Keith Potter said. “I’m very proud of the team. They never quit.”

Hancock took an early lead in the first. Zach Clark singled to get on base for Tanner Elbin’s two-run shot. Tayler Kerns, Brady Norris and Tyler Clingerman then hit consecutive singles with Kerns scoring on Clingerman’s single for a 3-0 lead.

Ryan Kolich struck back for Valley in the bottom half of the inning. A hard hit line drive cleared the fence in left-center, making it 3-1 Valley.

Hancock went down easily in the top of the second, 1-2-3, before Valley took the bats again. Jared Durning singled to lead it off, but the rain caused a 47-minute interruption. When play resumed, Hancock pitcher Jared Hose put Valley down in order.

Valley tightened it up in the home half of the third. Graham Morrison singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on Drew Mathias’ infield out. Kolich then knocked a two-out single into the outfield to score Morrison, and Valley was down only 3-2.

On the mound, Valley pitcher Durning kept Hancock hitters quiet after coming on in relief in the first with no outs. In six innings of work, he struck out five and gave up only one hit while walking only two.

Valley tied the game at 3-3 in the fourth. Duke Zimmerman doubled with one out, advanced to third on Trevor Hatcher’s infield out and scored when Clayton Chirdon reached first on an error.

In the bottom of the fifth, Mathias doubled, Kolich walked and Ryan Bywaters singled to load the bases.

After Mathias was out at the plate on a fielder’s choice by Durning, Kolich made his daring move, successfully stealing home on Zimmerman’s first pitch for the go-ahead run.

“We worked on that play. He’s got the speed, and he took the opportunity,” Valley manager Mike Mathias said.

The 4-3 lead would prove to be all that was needed, as Valley fended off Hancock in the top of the sixth to emerge victorious.

Valley will to travel to play in the loser’s bracket final tonight against Halfway at 6.

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