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11-12 tourney: National follows its motto

July 09, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Valley and National have similar unofficial mottos.

Play defense and hit the ball ... that’s the key to success in each dugout.

On Monday, National had the rules covered. Meanwhile, Valley violated one of them.

National banged out 18 hits and took advantage of Valley’s six errors to build an early 11-1 lead and held on for a 15-8 victory in a Maryland District 1 11-12 winners’ bracket matchup.

“We have got to play defense,” said Valley manager Danny Barnes. “We committed two errors in the first and gave them four runs. We committed three more errors in the second and gave them four more runs. We have to play defense and hit the ball hard.”

Valley outscored National 7-4 after the early onslaught — which included a seven-run second — but the early defensive problems had taken their toll.

Valley showed its ability to hit as three home runs drove in five of its eight runs, but National kept comeback chances at a minimum by committing only one error.

“We really hit the ball today and we played solid defense,” said National manager Ed Penn. “We have been playing good defense and our pitchers haven’t been allowing many walks. We haven’t been hitting the ball like that.”

With the victory, National will host Clear Spring in the winners’ bracket final, while Valley drops into the losers’ bracket and hosts Maugansville. Both games will be played Tuesday at 6 p.m.

National, playing as the visitor via the coin flip, continuously put the ball in play and forced Valley to make plays. It didn’t happen early.

National took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first, starting when Dawson Hottinger hit an infield single and Brock Penn walked to start the one-out rally against Valley starter Matt Dunn.

Corban Luna followed with an RBI double, Rian Flaherty produced a run by reaching on and error and Cameron Dorsey used a single and fielding error to bring home two runs for the 4-0 lead.

Andrew Mathias got one back with a solo home run off Flaherty in the bottom of the first to cut the deficit to 4-1.

National opened the second with seven consecutive singles and used three Valley errors to construct the seven-run inning. Brock Penn had a two-run hit while Chance Barnhart, Cody Crawford, Hottinger, Luna and Shawn Vinson each had an RBI to take an 11-1 lead.

Valley got three back in the bottom of the inning, though, as Brendan Kemp and Dunn drew one-out walks and trotted home on Chase Metz’s three-run homer to right to get to within 11-4.

Valley brought on Mathias to pitch during National’s second-inning onslaught and reshuffled the defensive alignment, which took care of the errors. The hitting still had a lot to do.

National made it 12-4 in the third as Brock Penn reached on a fielder’s choice and then circled the bases on Luna’s single to right that was capped by a fielding error.

Flaherty allowed singles to Metz and Mathias to open the fourth before being lifted because of the pitch count. Dorsey came on and allowed an RBI groundout to Dylan Eyler and run-scoring single by Gavin Shubert to move Valley back within 12-6.

Flaherty capped the game for National with a three-run home run in the fifth.

Chris Martin hit a leadoff homer in the fifth and Eyler had an RBI double in the sixth for Valley.

Hottinger led National with four hits and Vinson and Luna added three hits each. Flaherty pitched the victory and drove in four runs.

Metz had three hits and three RBIs for Valley.

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