Sanders’ nine strikeouts lead Valley past Eufaula

Published 9:10 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

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The Rams leaned on star pitcher Jackson Sanders in Valley’s 6-4 win over Eufaula on Thursday.

The Rams were scheduled to play a doubleheader but didn’t have to because they beat area opponent Eufaula twice already.

The first inning started well for the Rams as Jackson Sanders struck out a batter and didn’t allow a hit in the first inning.

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Valley’s bats were firing in the first as Trevor Rudd hit an RBI single to take a 1-0 lead.

CJ Chambley scored from third on a passed ball, and Seth Hammock hit an RBI single to give the Rams a 3-0 lead heading into the top of the second.

Valley looked like it was going to fall apart as Eufaula scored four runs with two outs to take a 4-3 lead, and Sanders was looking a little shaken despite striking out three batters.

Valley head coach Mike Meadows explained what happened after the top of the second.

“They [Eufaula] got a couple of hits,” Meadows said.

“We didn’t make some plays we should have. It was just a couple of small things. We came back and found a way to tie it. We added some runs to get us some cushion.”

Valley went hitless in the second, but Sanders regained his confidence in the top of the third and didn’t allow a hit in the inning.

The Rams tied the game at four with Hammock’s second RBI single.

Sanders had another strikeout in the top of the fourth, and the Tigers had no hits or walks.

Sanders fueled the offense with a bomb to right field for a double, and Chambley hit an RBI single to give the Rams a 5-4 lead heading into the fifth.

Sanders continued his hot streak with sixth strikeout in the top of the fifth to keep the Tigers scoreless in the inning.

Ashton Carter bombed a shot to left field in the bottom of the fifth to help the Rams gain a 6-4 lead heading into the sixth.

Sanders’ arm continued to shine as he forced two more strikeouts in the top of the sixth to keep the lead at two.

The Rams couldn’t get the offense going in the bottom of the sixth, but Sanders and Valley defense held the lead in the top of the seventh despite the bases being loaded with two outs thanks to a pop out forced by Seth Hammock.

Although Sanders struggled in the second inning, his teammates was able to calm him down.

“Those guys got him jacked up,” Meadows said.

“I talked to him and got him to calm down and refocus. Once he refocused, he was really good.”

Meadows was also pleased with the fielding.

“After the second inning, we played lights out in the field,” Meadows said.

“We played really good defense in both games because of the defense. If we could get up early, I liked our chances. I’m very proud of these guys for what they did out here.”

Valley also did what they needed to do offensively to keep the lead.

“We managed to get some timely hits when we needed them,” Meadows said.

“We have to get better every day.”