MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Class AAA No. 10 Spring Valley survived tense moments down the stretch Saturday to hold off Bridgeport, 7-5, in the Mon County Classic.
Leading by four runs entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Timberwolves (16-8) withstood a furious Tribe (18-5) rally to win their sixth straight game.
In the seventh, Vincenzo Cava and Trey Pancake singled, which combined with Trent Tucker’s walk allowed the Indians to load the bases with one out.
Evan Ogden then sent a ground ball to first base and the Timberwolves unsuccessfully tried for a force out at home, allowing Bridgeport to keep the bases loaded with a three-run deficit.
J.D. Love followed with a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Pancake, and Quintin Reep drew a walk to again load the bases.
But Spring Valley reliever Seth Damren shut the door by getting Austin Sponaugle to groundout to second, allowing the Timberwolves to hang on for the win at Monongalia County Ballpark.
“We’re tickled to death. We came back, got the lead and kept the lead. We like to make things interesting from time to time and a team like Bridgeport is disciplined at the plate,” Spring Valley coach Austin Pratt said.
Much like the finish, the Timberwolves got off to a rocky start as they were retired in order in the top half of the first and quickly fell behind 3-0 in the bottom of the frame.
An error allowed leadoff batter Ryan Goff to reach third, and he scored moments later on Cava’s single.
Nick Stalnaker’s single, combined with another SV error, allowed BHS to load the bases with one out, and Evan Ogden’s single to right brought home Cava and Stalnaker for a 3-0 lead.
“It was a good game from start to finish,” Pratt said. “They got on us early and I was happy our boys battled back.”
Hunter Bellamy’s second-inning single plated Cody Sharp for the Timberwolves’ first run, allowing them to cut the deficit to two.
Sharp seemed to feed off his hit and retired the Tribe in order in the second, before Spring Valley seized control of the game in the third.
Caleb Hensley drew a leadoff walk and stole second — a theme throughout as the Timberwolves totaled nine stolen bases. Tyrus Bumgarner’s single to right scored Hensley to make it a one-run game.
After Damren drew a walk, the Timberwolves put on a double steal to move the runners up to second and third. Sharp then delivered a go-ahead two run single to right that allowed Bumgarner and Damren to score.
Although Cava made a diving catch in right to take a hit away from Tanner Akers in the third, the Timberwolves were able to add to their lead with two more runs in the inning.
Sharp scored on a throwing error after being caught in a rundown between second and third, and Dylan Bourdelais singled to left to bring home Bellamy for a 6-3 Timberwolves’ advantage.
Sharp struck out three batters in the bottom of the third, including Ben Mossburg with the bases loaded to end the threat. The southpaw continued his dominant outing on mound by striking out five more batters over the fourth and fifth innings, before he was taken out to ahead of the sixth.
“Cody’s a special talent. He’s hit 90 (MPH) several times this year and really pitched well the last three outings,” Pratt said. “He’s working slider, change-up and hitting the spots with his fastball. It’s nice to see. He’s always been a hard thrower, but he’s finally developing into thinking like a pitcher and hitting spots and setting up other pitches.”
Bryson Hayton’s groundout to second brought home Bourdelais in the sixth after he led off with a double.
Sharp finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed three runs in five innings. He scattered four hits and walked four.
“We struck out too many times. We put the ball in play early and got three runs and then in that third inning we made a couple costly mistakes and they ran on us way too much,” Bridgeport coach Robert Shields said. “That’s the difference in the game, but I liked the fight in our boys.”
Tim Via took the loss after allowing seven runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked three in the loss.
Bumgarner, Sharp, Bellamy and Bourdelais had two hits apiece to key the Timberwolve’s 10-hit effort.
Cava and Ogden each had two hits in defeat.