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Hidden Valley commits seven errors before falling to Tunstall in the semifinals of the Region IV tournament.
Friday, May 31, 2013
MARTINSVILLE — Outstanding pitching, a timely comeback, and resilience to burn weren’t enough to propel Hidden Valley back to the Group AA baseball tournament.
Tunstall ace Luke Simpson battled Titans counterpart Ryan Lauria on even terms through seven innings and the Trojans were able to scratch out two more runs in the eighth then get a save from a little used pitcher to defeat Hidden Valley 8-6 in the semifinals of the Region IV tournament at Hooker Field Thursday.
The Titans (18-6) had rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the score 6-6, but Tunstall (20-1)took advantage of two Titans errors, a bunt single, an infield single, a walk, and two sacrifices to plate two runs for the winning margin.
Hidden Valley went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame against Trojans reliever Ryan Tomlinson, who underwent elbow surgery earlier in the year and came just short of quitting the sport for good before being persuaded otherwise.
Lauria was outstanding in his last appearance for Hidden Valley before moving on to Louisville and college ball, but seven errors and a couple of inning-killing base running blunders were too much to overcome.
“You can’t have seven errors at this point in the season against a good team,” Hidden Valley coach Jason Taylor said. “We’re not making excuses. They put the ball in play and did what they had to.”
Joseph Bolinger’s two out two run single in the first got Hidden Valley started, but the advantage didn’t last long.
In the Tunstall second, Lauria should have been out of the inning, but two errors kept things going.
Next up Chase Scarce, batting eighth, took Lauria’s 1-2 pitch over the fence in the power alley in left for a 3-2 lead.
“We’re down 2-0 and Lauria is blowing us away, more velocity than we’ve seen all year,” Tunstall coach Barry Shelton said. “Chase had just swung at strike two and Lauria came back with another fastball. He just hit it square.
“That elevated our team, gave our team the confidence that hey, we can score some runs on this guy today. That turned the game around for us.”
Tunstall tacked on another run in the third to go up 4-2.
Hidden Valley added runs in the fourth and fifth, to the tie it.
The Trojans went back up 5-4 on another unearned run in the sixth then added insurance in the seventh on Simpson’s two out RBI single.
Hidden Valley loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with two outs then tied it up when Simpson walked Bolinger then hit Ben Schmidt.
Simpson got the last out of the inning, but that was all he had left.
That set the stage for Tomlinson, who had only been back active the last two weeks.
“He was our last resort,” Shelton said. “Our starter was dead. He’d given us everything he had.”
Tunstall plays Bassett at 6 p.m. Friday at Dan Daniel Stadium in Danville for the regional title.
Bassett defeated the Knights 11-2 in the other semifinal Bassett led 6-0 before Cave Spring could get on the board.
Jordan Bryant’s second hit plated the Knights’ first run of the game to make it 6-1 in the fifth.
Terrell Simmons then greeted Jonah McReynolds, the Bengals’ second pitcher who had just entered with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, by being hit with a pitch to bring in the second run.
Bassett added four more runs with none out in the bottom of the sixth.
Tunstall 031 001 12 — 8 7 2
Hidden Valley 200 110 20 — 6 7 7
Simpson, Tomlinson (8) and Payne. Lauria, Henry (8) and Bowling. W—Simpson. L – Lauria. S – Tomlinson.
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