Big Valley marooned

STATE COLLEGE — They left everything on the field.

After falling behind by eight runs against State College Maroon the scrappy kids from Big Valley cut into the lead in the fifth.

But State College, which defeated Big Valley the first time they met, picked up six runs in the bottom of the frame on the way to a 15-5 victory in the Little League District 5 Minor 10 tournament.

The loss ended Big Valley’s run in the postseason.

“They battled this time. It was a much different ball game. Unlike the first one which was 20-1,” Big Valley manager Shawn Wagner said. “You can’t take anything away from that (State College) team. They hit the ball well. They are well coached. They know what to do. They were hitting the ball and finding the gaps.”

Big Valley was led offensively by a 2-for-2 effort by leadoff hitter Evan Strohecker. Teammate Jack Diehl just missed hitting a round tripper and had to settle for a stand up double but finished with two RBIs.

Big Valley opened the game with the early 1-0 advantage.

Strohecker had a flare for the dramatics early on, plastering a triple to the gap in right center. He then scored on a wild pitch, making it 1-0.

Defensively, Big Valley showed its defensive prowess as it ended the inning when Finn Powers grounded out to Brayden Sunderland. Sunderland gunned down Sebastian Rhoades who was heading for home, keeping the 1-0 lead as the two teams went into the second.

State College pitcher Asher Cunningham kept the Big Valley bats at bay, giving his offense a chance to plate some runs.

State College took the lead in the bottom of the inning, led by Rhoades’ two-run double that scored Chris Warner and Eddie Corkery. Earlier in the inning, Micheal Gaul scored on an RBI Corkery.

One bad inning early on hurt Big Valley as the bottom of the third produced six runs.

The score would remain unchanged until the top of the fifth when Big Valley made one last strong effort to get back into the game.

Patience and hard effort proved to pay off as Big Valley rallied to cut it to 9-5.

Strohecker walked and stole second and moved to third on an infield hit by Logan Alexander.

Both moved up a base when they advanced on a wild pitch, closing the gap.

Alexander later scored on a fielder’s choice. Later on, Jacob Bauman and Nathan Parkes scored on a huge hit by Diehl, ending the Big Valley scoring at 9-5.

State College started to hit again in the fifth, posting six runs to make the final.