Big Valley remains in hunt for the title

Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Big Valley’s Brayden Sunderland, left, lays out to make the tag on Bald Eagle Area’s Kyler Cleaver Wednesday evening at the Mifflin County Youth Park in Reedsville.

REEDSVILLE — The Big Valley 9-10-year-old Little League all-stars remain in the hunt for a District 5 crown Wednesday after they defeated a spunky Bald Eagle Area team, 7-0.

Offensively, the kids from the Big Valley opened things up in the first inning with five runs. After that, the team let its pitching and defense take over as it allowed only two hits in the contest.

Logan Alexander threw just 59 pitches in completing five innings on the mound for Big Valley while teammate Jacob Bauman finished off things in the sixth.

With the exception of the first inning, Bald Eagle played well. Starting pitcher Zach Hugar went nearly six innings, striking out five and surrendering seven hits. Five of those hits came in Big Valley’s five-run first.

Brayden Dubbs finished out the game for Bald Eagle, striking out all four batters he faced.

Offensively, Big Valley leadoff hitter Evan Strohecker led the way with a 3-for-4 performance with a run scored and an RBI.

Highlighting the afternoon affair was Zach Diehl’s inside-the-park, three-run home run in the first.

“They came out swinging the bats and that is what we’ve been wanting them to do the past couple games. When they start hitting the ball we got the whole way through the line up in the first inning,” Big Valley manager Shawn Wagner said. “When you get nine guys up in the first inning you’re going to score some runs. Five runs like that was great. You could see it, it took the momentum right out of them.”

In the first, Strohecker led the game off with a single up the middle on the first pitch of the contest. Alexander followed with a shot up the middle of his own, putting runners on first and second.

Brayden Sunderland hit an RBI single to right as Strohecker gunned it from second to score uncontested.

With one out, Bauman picked up an RBI of his own, also smacking the ball into the right field grass.

With Sunderland on second and Bauman at first, Diehl hit a blast to the right field corner that rolled to the fence. All scored on the hit as Big Valley opened things with a 5-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the inning, lead off hitter Kyler Cleaver singled up the middle to try to rally his team but was picked off trying to steal second.

From there, Alexander struck out two of the three batters he faced, keeping the Eagles without a run.

Both defenses were tough in the second and third innings as they kept each other off the board.

Big Valley added a run in the top of the fourth as Carter Smith singled and later scored on an RBI single by Strohecker, making it 6-0.

Alexander continued to cruise along into the fifth without any runs.

In the fifth, Truitt Davis scored to add some insurance for the defense and pitching staff.

That would be all Big Valley would need as it kept the shutout intact and moved on to face State College Maroon, which fell 16-7 to Philipsburg-Osceola Wednesday. That game will be Friday in State College, with the winner taking on Philipsburg-Osceola Sunday for the championship.