Valley struggles early in 12-3 loss to Russell County

Published 9:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2020

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The Valley baseball team struggled in the second and seventh innings of its 12-3 loss to Russell County on Wednesday.

It kind of snowballed on us,” Valley head coach Patrick Shivers said. “We ran into a juggernaut tonight. They’re a good program.”

After a 1-2-3 top of the first, Valley starter Hunter Meddows ran into trouble in the second inning. After a first-pitch lineout to center field, Meddows walked the Warriors five-hole hitter and hit the next hitter. An error scored the first run of the game when the ball tipped off the Rams third baseman’s glove and trickled into left field. After another walk, the Warriors added a second run when Landon Russell lined a double to left field.

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A groundout and an error scored the final two runs of the inning, giving the Rams a five-run deficit by the bottom of the second inning.

“That inning, more than any of the other innings got us behind,” Shivers said.

The Rams battled back in the bottom of the fourth inning. They led off with a pair of singles by Meddows and Will Bush. After a strikeout, Brance White drew a walk to load the bases with one out. A single by CD Clark gave the Rams their first run of the game. They weren’t able to capitalize on the opportunity, as the next two batters recorded outs.

Meddows settled down during the third and fourth innings, but he faced trouble in the top of the fifth.

In the fifth, the Warriors led off with a walk by Zac Rice. After a pop out, Rice stole second and scored on a single to right field by Zack Henderson, who moved to second on a walk. He scored from second off an error.

Meddows finished the inning, which ended his night on the mound. He threw 96 pitches in his five-inning outing.  He allowed just two hits and struck out three batters.

“Hunter is a quality arm,” Shivers said. “He’s going to be able to mix three pitches and normally throw them for strikes. He had that one bad inning.”

Trailing by six runs, Valley once again battled back, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. A walk and a single put two Rams on base with one out. Both runners advanced on a ground out before scoring. Clark, who was the lead runner, scored from third on a wild pitch, while Eli Culpeper scored on an error by the Warriors’ first baseman, cutting the deficit to  7-3.

The Warriors answered by driving in five runs in the top of the seventh. In the inning, the Warriors finished with three of their six hits. Two of the three hits went for extra bases, but all three hits scored at least one run.

For the Rams, Clark finished 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. He also drew a walk. Meddows finished 1-for-2 at the plate, drawing a pair of walks.

Valley will travel to Beulah on Friday for its next game. Senior George Chambley is the probable starter for the Rams. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT.