Senior Sam Allie went 3-for-4 with a home run and a pair of runs batted in and pitched three shutout innings of relief as Happy Valley played road ‘Warriors’ with a 4-2 win over Unaka Saturday afternoon at Claude Holsclaw Field.
“The toughest thing and the biggest hurdle for us has been learning how to win games, especially close ones,” said Warriors head coach Caleb Moore. “Today is a step in the right direction. Sam stepped up as a senior today with a big day at the plate and on the mound.
“It was a great job he did today.”
The Rangers (4-6) opened with a run in the last of the first as Jacob Hill singled off HV starter Corrie Garland, but was forced at second on a grounder by Thomas Hardin. Shortstop/pitcher Danny Bales then ripped a double to right center to plate Hardin for a 1-0 Unaka lead.
The Warriors (8-5) answered in the top of the fourth as Camen Wilder and Garland both walked against Unaka reliever Taylor Edwards to open the frame. One out later, Zack Hyder’s ground ball plated Wilder with the tying run.
The Rangers took back the lead in their half of the stanza as sophomore outfielder Bobby Davenport ripped the first of his two doubles on the day with one away, and one out later Hill delivered a clutch RBI single to make it a 2-1 contest after four innings.
In the top of the fifth, HV struck for a pair of runs using aggressiveness on the bases to force a Unaka miscue that led to both runs. Third baseman Colton Haun led off with an infield single and stole second as Justin Maupin drew a free pass.
With Allie at the dish and faking a bunt, Unaka catcher Weston Colbaugh’s throw to third saw no one home and the throw went into left field allowing Haun to score from second and putting Maupin at third.
Allie’s grounder to second brought home the second run of the inning for Happy Valley and made it a 3-2 game.
Allie came on for HV in the last of the fifth and the right hander retired Unaka one-two-three, but in the sixth the Rangers made some noise. Davenport ripped his second two-bagger to lead things off in the fifth, and Billy Bales moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt.
Allie then bore down and struck out Hill and retired Hardin on a ground ball to third.
“We left 13 runners on base today,” said Rangers head coach Tee Blevins. “We had plenty of opportunities today and cashed in on a few of them. We moved the runners over real well, but there were a couple key moments when we couldn’t find a hit. Leaving 13 runners on base in a seven inning game means you’re getting on base.
“We had a chance at the end, bringing the tying run up to the plate,” Blevins said, “but didn’t get it done.”
Allie added to the lead in the seventh against Danny Bales as he crushed a two-two pitch over the fence in left field to make it a 4-2 HV lead. He retired the Rangers in the last of the seventh to record the save.
“Coach just told me to throw strikes and that’s just what I did,” Allie said. “I know a couple of these guys and I felt I could get them. I just threw strikes and went right at them, because if you don’t they have a way of getting that run to tie the game.
“My guys did a great job and I wouldn’t want any other guys behind me in the infield or outfield. I had been struggling lately, but it felt good to break out and hope to keep it going next week when we play some conference games.”
Justin Morefield got the win while Edwards suffered the loss. Neither starter hung around for long with both teams playing conference games to start next week but both pitched well.
For HV, Garland struck out five and walked one in three innings of work and for Unaka left hander Jon Wright pitched two shutout innings striking out three.
Happy Valley 000 120 1 — 4 7 0
Unaka 100 100 0 — 2 8 1
Garland, Morefield (3), Allie (5) and Street. Wright, Edwards (4), D. Bales (6) and Colbaugh. W—Morefield. L—Edwards. E—Colbaugh. DP—HV 1. LOB—HV 9, U 13. HR—Allie. 2B—Davenport 2, D.Bales.