Happy Valley, which blew a 9-0 lead after two innings, escaped a valiant Sullivan Central rally for a 10-9 victory to advance and play Sullivan East on Friday.
The Warriors got a little bit of luck in the bottom of the sixth inning. Dylan Willis’ one-out triple skipped past third base and into the visiting bullpen. Central had a tough time fielding and that is mainly what got Willis to third.
On the very next pitch, he scored on a wild pitch and HV took the lead.
The Warriors started off the bottom of the second inning with a ground-out to first by Bryce Carter, but then reeled off seven straight baserunners. Three were by singles and two each by walks and errors.
Happy Valley scored nine runs in the inning and looked to be cruising in for the win.
Then Sullivan Central woke up.
The Cougars slowly climbed their way back into the game with five runs on six hits and three HV errors in the fourth. Central struck again in the sixth with three runs on three hits, an error and a walk.
Overall, Happy Valley committed five errors in the game and only four Central runs were earned.
The key moment was in the top of the sixth inning when Carter came into pitch for the Warriors with the bases loaded and was able induce a flyout to second and a ground out. He gave up one run, but it was unearned.
WARRIOR BATS CAUGHT FIRE
Happy Valley had six different players record a hit and were led by starting pitcher Michael Harrah, who finished his night going 2 for 3 with two singles and a RBI. Willis was 2 for 4 with a single, the key triple in the sixth and one RBI.
On the mound, Harrah got a no-decision and Carter was credited with the win after letting a save opportunity slip away. Carter struck out Central’s Connor Wilson on a swing-and-miss curveball.
Harrah was able to strike out six while Carter struck out a pair.
“We had really good inning there in the second and I thought our approach at the plate was really good,” Happy Valley coach Brad Hill said. “I was not happy with our approach after that inning. We kind of took our foot off the gas a bit. When we’re up like that, we have to finish out the game.”
COUGARS WAKE UP LATE
Most of the Sullivan Central offense came after the second inning and they were led by Mason Buckson, who finished 2 for 3 with a pair of singles and RBIs.
Jacob Fields went 1 for 4 with a single and two RBIs as well for Central.
Ethan Bombailey started the game for Central and was roughed up for eight runs on five hits, but only two runs were earned. Trey Sells pitched admirably in relief, despite coming away with the loss. The Central pitching staff struck out four batters.
“I told them after the game that no one should walk out of the dugout with their heads hung low,” Central coach Clay Colley said. “When you’re down 9-0, a lot of teams just lay down. We put ourselves in a good spot to win the game. I’m so proud of this team and that’s what you expect in a district tournament game. … We’re young, so it’s a step in the right direction and we only have three seniors on the team.”