Timberwolves nip Knights, 4-3
SPRING VALLEY -- The beauty of baseball is how unpredictable it can be.
One night after struggling in a loss to Woodrow Wilson, Spring Valley came back and got a beautiful effort from a pair of pitchers and solid play all around to earn a 4-3 win over rival Cabell Midland on Tuesday.
For the Timberwolves, it was about making plays at the most opportune times.
"Anytime you beat these guys, it's quality," Spring Valley coach Jim Hensley said. "That's a big-time program over there. We've got to get better, but hopefully we are at the right time. We'll still make an error here or there, but the routine play is what we have to fix."
On a night when hitting was at a premium, the Knights had a golden opportunity to knot the game up in their final at-bat with the top of the lineup coming to the plate.
However, Spring Valley pitcher Zack Hardin got out of the frame unscathed to clinch the win for the Timberwolves -- their second 4-3 win of the season over the Knights.
Hardin came in relief of starter Aaron Hamm, who pitched four scoreless innings, surrendering a lone single to Bryton Jobe to lead off the second inning. That was the Knights' lone hit of the game as Hamm and Hardin shut the door.
Despite not getting hits, walks and errors helped Cabell Midland trim a 4-0 deficit to a one-run game in the top of the fifth inning.
A pair of Spring Valley miscues aided the comeback. The Knights' got on the board when a throw to first off Cody Ballengee's grounder was in the dirt.
Tyler Hayes alertly raced home from third to notch Cabell Midland's first run.
After a hit batsmen loaded the bases, another throw in the dirt off a grounder from Taylor Kuhn allowed two runs to score. However, Cabell Midland's Bryton Jobe was thrown out at third base after the second run scored on the play to end the inning.
It would be the last baserunner for the Knights as Hardin retired the side in order in each of the last two frames for the win.
In a game where opportunities were few, it was execution when opportunities were presented that proved the difference.
Spring Valley jumped out to a 4-0 lead after plating a pair of runs in the fourth inning.
There was nothing fancy about the scoring -- just the Timberwolves making the necessary plays to push runs across.
The Timberwolves loaded the bases with no outs after a hit batsmen, a walk and an infield single forced Cabell Midland starter Luke Yingling to exit for Derek Adkins.
Alex Combs lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Billy Evans and, after an intentional walk to Elijah Wellman set up a force play at any base, Colby Webb lifted a fly ball to right field. The runners held on the shallow fly ball, but after the ball bounded away from Cabell Midland catcher Brady Elkins on the throw in, Bryer Brewer alertly raced home with what proved to be the game-winning run.
On the flip side of the equation, Cabell Midland couldn't get the hit necessary to push across runs with runners in scoring position.
The Knights had the bases loaded with one out in the second and failed to score after a strikeout then flyout in which Brewer made a diving catch to save two runs on a sinking flyball away from his body.
A similar situation presented itself in the fourth inning when a walk and throwing error gave Cabell Midland a runner on third with no outs. A popout to first base and a pair of strikeouts left the runner stranded.
"We had a guy on third with no outs and don't get him in," Cabell Midland coach Tracy Brumfield said. "Guys on second and third and we shoot ourselves in the foot. If you can't put the ball in the right side of the field, you won't win. The same thing happened to us last season in the sectional when we left 20 guys in scoring position in two games."
Webb had an RBI groundout in the first to open the scoring while an RBI double by Tyler Radcliffe pushed the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the second.
Despite the loss, Adkins was dominant in relief for Cabell Midland. After Webb's flyout to right field produced the run following the error, Adkins struck out the final seven batters he faced without surrendering a baserunner.
CABELL MIDLAND 000 030 0 -- 3 1 2
SPRING VALLEY 110 200 x -- 4 6 3
Yingling, Adkins (4) and Elkins. Hamm, Hardin (5) and Radcliffe. W -- Hamm. L -- Yingling.
Hitting: (SV) Radcliffe 2B, RBI; Combs RBI.