Valley overcame the Brunswick loss, using a five-run third inning along with clutch hitting and pitching to oust West Salisbury 12-9 in the Maryland State 10-11 Little League Tournament.
“The kids were hot and tired (against Brunswick),” Valley manager Danny Barnes said. “They just weren’t the same team against them.”
Valley returned to form when it was needed most and solidified its spot in the championship round of the tournament. A rematch against Brunswick is set for today at 3 p.m.
If Valley wins, the teams will play the rubber match Friday at 3 p.m. to decide the state champion.
Leading 9-8 heading into the sixth inning, Valley looked to add some insurance runs. Brett Baile reached base due to an error and Austin Moser was walked to put two baserunners on for Dylan Eyler. Eyler homered on a 3-1 pitch to give Valley a 12-8 lead.
“Dylan always hits hard line drives,” Barnes said. “I didn’t expect the home run, but it sparked the team.”
West Salisbury was patient in the bottom of the sixth as it used three straight walks to load the bases. Baile gave up one of those walks and allowed one run to score before striking out the side, leaving the tying run at the plate.
“Baile never pitched for us in the district, but the coaches decided to put him in and it was a good call by all of us. He did a great job,” Barnes said.
The game was tied at 3 heading into the fourth inning whenValley grabbed the lead for good. Baile hit a two-run single and Mark Moholt scored on the same play due to a throwing error to give Valley a 6-3 lead. Moser doubled home Baile and Eyler had an RBI double to cap Valley’s important fourth inning.
“This is a disciplined baseball team,” Barnes said. “They take advantage of mistakes and we try to teach them to be aware of everything.”
West Salisbury threatened in the fourth and fifth innings, closing the gap to one run, but Valley never relinquished its lead.
“It’s all about the team here. These kids play for each other,” Barnes said.