Heartbreak at Crestview: Valley’s miracle season comes to a stunning finale

Published 11:44 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Valley Rams fought for every second of the semifinal series against Mobile Christian, but Valley was unable to eke out a win, falling in two games to end the season. 


Game Two: Valley – 7 Mobile Christian – 8

Email newsletter signup

The close-out game came down the wire, but it was the Leopards that came away with a miracle 8-7 walk-off win in the eighth inning. 

With one out left in the bottom of the eighth, Alex Bennett came up with one of the biggest hits of the night as he drove a solo home run over the center field fence to tie things at seven. 

Mobile Christian needed just a run to end it, and a single put the go-ahead run on first. P.J. Brown came away with the clutch hit to end it as he snuck a line drive just inside fair territory to drive in the winning run with a double. 

The Valley Rams came away with miracle finishes throughout the postseason, and the team needed a comeback again on Tuesday to stay in the game. 

Down two runs in the top of the seventh inning, Jackson Sanders roped a double to score Bryson Monteith before Ty Monteith drove in a run with a single to tie things at five. Mason Yarbrough came away with a sacrifice fly to give Valley a 6-5 lead going into the final half inning. 

The Leopards were tough to put away as a single tied things up again in the bottom of the seventh and sent the game to extras. The Rams once again came away with a clutch hit in the top of the eighth as Matthew Mcdonald drove in a run with a single to make it 7-6. 

“My guys fought their tales off,” Valley coach Mike Meadows said. “Down 4-0 and found a way to come back and tie it… We just couldn’t finish it. That’s a really good baseball team right there. They put pressure on you all through their lineup.” 

The Leopards took the lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single before pushing the lead to four with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. 

Valley found its first bit of life in the top of the sixth inning as C.J. Chambley drove in a run with a double before later scoring on an error. The lead was cut to one as a run scored on a ground out. 

After the sweep, Valley finishes with a 26-7 record on the season. More importantly, the series brought an end to Sanders, Chambley, Clayton Sanders and Bryson’s time at Valley. 

“Those four seniors have done a lot for this program this year,” Meadows said. “They’ve carried us pretty much all year. We’ve had some other guys come through at times, but it’s been our seniors for the most part. Just proud of them.” 

The Rams will return a host of young guys next season and will have a lot to build on after advancing to the semifinals for just the fourth time in school history. 

Game One: Valley – 4 Mobile Christian – 4

Bunting and hitting the ball on the ground was the name of game one as the Leopards used their small-ball attack to beat Valley 10-4. 

The Rams had the momentum early on in game one as Bryson Monteith reached base after being hit and Jackson Sanders drove Monteith in with a one-out single to give Valley a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. 

Mobile Christian took hold of the momentum in the top of the second as two infield singles to start allowed the Leopards to get on the board with a ground out. Baserunning gave the Leopards another run as Sanders took a ground ball on the mound and fired it to third. The baserunner broke for home and gave Mobile Christian a 2-1 lead. Mobile Christian added one last run in the inning as an error from Matthew Mcdonald drove a run in. 

Things went from bad to worse for Valley in the top of the third as an error put a runner on second before a double added another run for the Leopards. Mobile Christian added two more runs with a single to make it 6-1. 

Another run scored on a passed ball before a bunt added another run for Mobile Christian in the top of the fourth inning. A two-out single gave the Leopards a commanding 9-1 lead. 

Valley found some momentum in the bottom of the sixth as Monteith scored on a passed ball before Ty Monteith drove in another run with a double. Mason Yarbrough hit a sacrifice fly to make it 9-4. 

Mobile Christian added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Valley had a chance to start a rally as Braylon Carter hit a one-out single to give the top of the lineup a chance, but the Rams were unable to produce another hit. 

Sanders led the way at the plate with two hits and one RBI. Sanders also got the start on the mound, allowing five earned in four innings of action. 

Valley’s defense, which had been a strength for the Rams all season, had an uncharacteristic finish to the season. Valley finished with five errors in total in the semifinal series.