By Gene Renfro
BRISTOL — Happy Valley rebounded Friday, the opening day of the Team Sports Outfitters Tournament played in Bristol, with a 6-5 victory over Union (Va.) thanks to a clutch hit in the ninth.
Earlier Friday the Warriors (2-11) saw a 3-0 lead turn into a 16-3 setback against host Tennessee High.
To end the day, Zac Hyder delivered what turned out to be the game-winning hit over Union. The freshman entered the batters’ box with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the score tied at five. He was able to punch a single into right field for the RBI. Hyder had another hit in the contest.
“The guys showed me something right there,” Happy Valley head coach Caleb Moore said about his team’s first victory since opening day. “I think that’s the team that we can be. We had an approach at the plate. Hunter Townsend (starting pitcher) threw strikes. We stuck with it and played good defense.”
That defense backed up Townsend and Justin Maupin without an error over nine innings in the young team’s second game of the day. Maupin entered the contest in relief and tossed the final 32⁄3 innings for the win. He was in line for a save, but Union foiled those plans in the seventh.
Union was able to score two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to force extra frames. In the bottom of the seventh, Union used a two-out double by Nathan Baker off the left-field fence to tie the score. An inning before Union threatened for more runs before Maupin entered. When the Warrior freshman took the mound with runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, he was able to get a strikeout and a groundout to snuff out the rally.
“With two outs there, they hadn’t squared up many balls on us all day,” Moore said about the game-extending hit. “He got a good fastball belt high and put it off the wall, but give it to our guys we didn’t lose focus and kept on battling to play three extra innings to come out with the win.”
The Warriors were able to build a 5-1 lead thanks to a four-run fifth.
In the opening game Maupin, was 1-for-3 with two stolen bases and two runs scored. Chance Street added a two-run double that put the Warriors up 2-0 after an inning.
The final Happy Valley score came in the third before the Vikings took the lead with five runs. An inning later Tennessee High went off for 11 runs that put the game out of reach.
The Warriors will travel to Sullivan East Monday for a conference tilt before going to rival Unicoi County Tuesday.
Happy Valley 201 00 — 3 5 4
Tenn. High 005 (11)x — 16 10 3
Happy Valley 000 010 001 — 6 8 0
Union 100 002 200 — 5 7 4