After falling to third-seeded Soddy-Daisy 3-0 in the opening round, the No. 6-seeded Mustangs put a 10-0 whipping on McMinn County Saturday and then stunned host Ooltewah 7-0 Sunday at A.C. “Bud” Ball Field.
“I give a lot of credit to our pitching coach, Dustin McPherson, for calling great games and our pitchers, Kyle Goins and John Simmons, for doing a great job executing what we wanted to do,” praised Walker Valley head coach Joe Shamblin after the latest victory. “We’ve won five of our last six. Our kids are starting to believe. We’re hitting the ball well and playing good defense to go with our pitching.”
The Mustangs (12-19) will get a chance at some pay back this evening when they take on Soddy-Daisy again at 7 p.m. in an elimination game. The winner will advance to the loser’s bracket final Tuesday against top-seeded East Hamilton, which fell 8-4 to No. 2 seed Bradley Central on Sunday.
Not giving a hoot about playing on the Owls’ home field, Walker Valley picked up a solo run in the third inning when Ben Clark drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Elijah West, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Mustangs hit a full gallop in the sixth inning with a six-run rally to put the game away.
Dillan Church led off the top of the sixth with an infield single; after a strikeout, the next eight Walker Valley batters reached base.
Stu Clark laced single to right, Brady Swafford drew a free pass. Brian Oliver plated pinch runners Caden Watson and Dallas Kuykendall with a single.
After Tucker Mendenhall reached on a fielder’s choice and Bradley Smith was hit by a pitch, West drew a bases-loaded two-out walk.
Simmons helped his own cause with his second hit of the day, this one a double to plate a pair of runs. Church, who reached base all four times he batted, finished off the rally he started with an RBI-single.
On the hill, Simmons (4-4) went the distance, striking out a half dozen, while walking just two and scattering five hits in the shutout performance.
“This is a big win for us. They beat us by seven and 12 (runs) during the regular season. They were the only ones to blow us out, so we wanted to win this one bad,” Simmons proclaimed. “I felt good throughout the game.”
“John wanted the ball. He’s a senior and only had two days of rest (since his last start), but he told me he wanted it. That makes my job easy,” expressed Coach Shamblin.
“A couple of wins like this (Saturday and Sunday), where we’re hitting and pitching well gives us some confidence,” he added. “Hopefully it will give us some momentum going into the rest of the tournament.”
Ooltewah, which was the tournament’s No. 4 seed, finishes the season with a 17-14 record.
Troy State signee Brody Binder wrapped up his high school career by going 2-for-3 at the plate, while Kyle Kapherr stroked a doubled and reached base on a walk.
Walker Valley 001 006 0 — 7 10 0
Ooltewah 000 000 0 — 0 5 0
WP: John Simmons (4-4) 7 IP, 6 K’s, 2 BB, 5 hits, 0 ER. LP: Mitch Duncan 6 IP, 6 K’s, 5 BB, 2 HBP, 10 hits, 1 ER. 2B: John Simmons, Ben Clark (WV); Kyle Kapherr (O); RBI: Brian Oliver 2, John Simmons 2, Dillan Church, Ben Clark, Elijah West, (WV). Highlights: John Simmons 2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Dillan Church 2-2, BB, HBP, RBI; Elijah West 1-3, BB, RBI, 2 runs; Ben Clark 1-3, BB, 2B, RBI; Stu Clark 1-3, BB, run (WV); Brody Binder 2-3; Kyle Kapherr 1-1, 2B, BB (O). Records: Walker Valley 12-19; Ooltewah 17-14.