MIDDLEBOURNE - There was a very distinct difference between Valley coach Jim West's and Tyler Consolidated coach Rob Jones' thoughts on their teams' sectional baseball game played in the rain at Tyler Consolidated High School.
''A couple times the balls were slick, but I didn't think (the rain) effected the game too much,'' Jones said. ''There were a couple soft spots around the plate, but you know, it's playoff time and you've got to get the games in and the kids played well.''
West did agree with his counterpart that the balls were wet, but not much more.
PHOTO BY TONY VIOLA
Tyler Consolidated’s Isaac Michael takes a cut Monday.
''Bradon Stoneking, our starting pitcher, the first couple innings the ball was so wet, he couldn't get a hold of it and threw a couple of wild pitches,'' West said. ''I wish they would have called it to be honest, but that's here nor there.''
No matter how hard the rain came down, the game pressed on and resulted in an 11-6 Silver Knights victory.
''Whenever we made the routine plays, it went real smoothly,'' Jones noted. ''Jordan Baker on the mound, a good freshman pitcher, threw strikes and we made plays behind him and played pretty well.''
It was those routine plays that eluded Valley (4-16) early on as the Lumberjacks needed time to adjust to the elements, but gave up three easy runs in the process.
''Very, very easy (runs),'' West said. ''The backstop, once it gets past him, they can pretty much steal third from one bad pitch.''
Nathan Heintzman did.
With one out in the fourth, Heintzman went from first to third with the ball thrown everywhere in between.
A Koty Martin groundout at the next at bat brought Heintzman in to break a 6-6 tie.
''There was good base running on our part,'' Jones pointed out. ''I think the kids had their heads up and were ready to play. They know when to move when the ball gets away from the catcher and they took advantage.''
The Silver Knights (7-19) did even more so in the sixth.
Two of the four insurance runs Tyler picked up came off of wild pitches.
''We let them get a three-run lead on us, then we battled back,'' West said. '''Then we basically let it slip away from us.
''I'm proud of our guys, we did very well. We just didn't get enough runs when we needed them.''
Valley will need to get those runs today as the Lumberjacks take on St. Marys with the season on the line at Tyler Consolidated.
The Silver Knights are idle and will take on the winner of today's game at 5 p.m. Wednesday.