MAUGANSVILLE — Thursday night’s Maryland District 1 Senior League Tournament winners’ bracket final was all about momentum.
Valley started with it — racing to an 11-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings — and Maugansville never found the spark it needed to gain it.
Josh Miller had three hits and five RBIs, and Mike Burgess had two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs as Valley rolled to a 14-4 victory in five innings. With the win, Valley moved into the championship round and will host a game Monday needing one more win for the district title.
That’s the best we’ve hit all year,” Valley manager Jeff Parks said. “They came alive with the bats tonight, and I’m shocked because we haven’t hit the ball well. We had a lot of hits with runners in scoring position.”
Maugansville will host Conococheague on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the losers’ bracket final. Maugansville beat Conococheague 9-5 in the opening round on Tuesday.
The winner will travel to Valley on Monday needing two wins to claim the district title. A final game would be played July 5 if needed.
“Sometimes, when things start going downhill, you can’t always stop that momentum,” Maugansville coach Dan Dopson said. “That’s a very good team. Every time we had a chance, they found a double play or made a key throwout.”
Maugansville starting pitcher Matt Clopper had a rough outing, failing to get out any of the six batters he faced and giving up four runs on two hits, three walks and a hit batter.
Burgess hit a high-hop RBI single to center and Miller ripped a two-run single to center. Kyle Bywaters’ RBI infield single off reliever Stephen Ashby made it 4-0.
Burgess ripped a two-run home run to right for a 6-0 lead in the second, and Miller’s RBI ground-rule double to center and Bywaters’ RBI single to left gave Valley an 8-0 lead.
Miller’s two-run single to right center highlighted Valley’s three-run third for an 11-0 lead. Valley took advantage of two walks and a hit batter in the inning. Overall, Maugansville pitchers walked nine hitters and hit two others.
Two walks and a Valley error helped Maugansville score two unearned runs in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 11-2, but a nifty double play turned by second baseman Dylan Bryce — with a scoop at first by Bryan Tracey — kept the damage to a minimum.
Zach Keener’s sacrifice fly gave Valley a 12-2 lead in the fourth, and Valley took advantage of a walk and two Maugansville errors to make it 14-2 in the fifth.
Maugansville scored twice in the bottom of the fifth — taking advantage of two walks and a Valley error — but Miller’s strong throw from center field cut down a runner at home to end the game by the 10-run rule.
Valley shortstop Quentin Zimmerman made two nice plays deep in the hole in the second inning.
“We got some breaks,” Parks said. “We had some things that bounced our way. We played our best defensive game of the year.”
Steve Clapper got the win on the mound for Valley, allowing two runs — none earned — on two hits, five walks and a hit batter in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out three.