By Tim Chambers
An ugly start ended in a beautiful finish for Happy Valley on Thursday night at Cannon-Gouge Park. The Warriors came from behind to defeat Providence Academy 11-9 in a wild and wacky affair.
Head coach Caleb Moore was relieved that his young team found a way to win despite having six freshmen in the lineup at one point in the game. He’s hoping they can overcome their youth and inexperience and become a good baseball team.
“Our wins right now are coming far and between, so I’ll take them anyway I can get them,” said Moore. “It’s tough to come back when you’re down 5-0, but our kids did a great job of battling back. That says a lot about these kids, but I told them not to get in a habit of it. You’ve got to come out in the first inning ready to play. We didn’t do that today.”
A pair of doubles by Chase Graham and Blake Tyree brought home three runs in to start the game. Happy Valley starting pitcher Sam Allie was relieved by Correy Garland in the first after failing to record an out in the seven batters that he faced.
The Warriors tallied three runs in the second frame, courtesy of two walks and a two Knight errors. Chance Street, Colton Haun and Phillip Garland all score runs to cut the deficit at two.
Providence extended it back at 7-3 in the third inning with the help of a single from McClain Grable.
Happy Valley finally took the lead in the fourth inning by putting five runs on the board. P.J. Barbosa walked and Camen Wilder singled to start the rally. Justin Maupin’s base hit brought home one.
Two throwing errors and a fielders choice by Luke Childress enabled three more runners to cross. The key base hit was freshman Phillip Garland’s double that scored Haun with the go-ahead run at 8-7.
The lead however was shortlived because Providence scored twice in the fifth inning to go back on top 9-8.
Graham ripped a run-scoring triple to plate the go-ahead run, but the Tribe was not about to back down.
A two-out single by Aaron Renfro in the bottom half scored Zach Hyder and Maupin to surge them back ahead at 10-9.
They added an insurance run in the sixth when Justin Norris ripped a two-bagger to the right-field wall, scoring Haun who had doubled.
Norris did the rest by striking out two of the three batters he sat down in order during the seventh.
The senior lefty came on in the fifth to pitch the final 2 2/3 innings. He was credited with the win.
“We didn’t have any intensity going into the game after playing well in our last two,” said Norris. “We had heard they weren’t as good as the teams we’ve been playing, so everyone laid back and they caught us on our heels. Once we got those three runs we felt like we could come back. They been hard to come by, but this is a good win for us.”
Renfro and Norris went 1-for-1 to lead the Warriors. Garland was 1-for-2. Haun added a 1-for-3 performance and scored three times. Street was 1-3 with two runs scored.
Justin Reagan had a pair of defensive gems in center field for the Tribe. He also threw out a runner trying to score on a potential sac fly.
Graham had a triple, double and a single in five trips to lead Providence.
“Justin came to me when we tied it up and wanted the ball,” said Moore. “That’s a senior stepping up. We had some guys come off the bench and get key hits — even the courtesy runners stepped up. I honestly believe that everyone had a part in this win today. It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it.”
Providence 502 020 0 — 9 8 4
Happy Valley 030 521 x — 10 7 3
Grable, Weaver (2), Graham (5), and Tyree. Allie, (C. Garland) (1), Childress (4), Norris (5) and Street. W—Norris. L—Graham.