The Valdosta Daily Times
It wasn’t pretty, but Open Bible’s baseball team improved to 2-0 Thursday night, beating the Valwood Valiants 16-9 in an error-filled, sluggish contest.
“Probably not the prettiest baseball we’ve ever seen,” Open Bible head coach John Joye said. “It was fun. It is good for both schools, good for our community. You want to hit the ball more, but I thought both teams hung in there. They had their chances of getting down on themselves, but they chose to continue to compete instead.”
In a game that featured 17 combined walks, six hit-by-pitches, 10 errors, 15 unearned runs and just 11 hits, the Warriors overcame adversity in nearly every inning and overcame a two-run deficit in the fifth inning to beat the Valiants.
Trailing 9-7 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, and with the sun quickly setting on the baseball field, which does not have lights, the Warriors scored nine runs on just three hits, three Valwood walks, a pair of hit-by-pitches and a pair of Valiant errors.
In the inning, seven different Warriors scored runs against the four different Valiants that took the hill in the inning, two of which failed to record an out.
The inning started with an error by Valwood second baseman Keaton Taylor, who made another one later in the inning, and was followed by three walks, a fielder’s choice that failed to result in an out, the two hit-by-pitches, three singles and Taylor’s other error.
“I just told them to be patient,” Joye said. “Base runners equal runs if we can get runs.”
After trailing by two runs heading into the inning, the Warriors led 16-9 after the inning that featured 13 at-bats. Then, with the sun nearly hidden behind the tree-line, the Warriors got the Valiants out in 1-2-3 fashion in the top of the sixth inning. After that, the game was ended, due to darkness.
“I think the world of (Valwood head coach) Robert Shipman,” Joye said. “He is a class act. To spend the afternoon on the field, whether on his team or as his opponent, is always fun.”
Open Bible finished the game with just six hits, and six errors that resulted in Valwood scoring just one earned run in the game. Valwood’s four errors resulted in the Warriors scoring seven unearned runs.
The Warriors raced out to a 5-0 lead throughout the first two innings, using a pair of Valwood errors to score three unearned runs.
In the first inning, a walk, a pair of singles, a Valwood error at shortstop by Bayly Thompson and a wild pitch by Gabe Luke allowed the Warriors to build a 3-0 lead.
Caleb Bowden started with a walk, followed by a Nathan Infante single. Then, Matthew Infante connected on an RBI single to score Bowden. A throwing error by Thompson scored Nathan Infante.
Matthew Infante scored later in the inning on a wild pitch.
In the second inning, Open Bible scored a pair of runs, only one earned, after taking advantage of three straight issued walks and a single. Colton Jenkins scored on an error by Luke, after reaching on a walk, and John Worsley scored on a single by Nathan Infante.
Valwood cut into its deficit in the third inning, thanks to three Open Bible errors. Eric Ward reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a Jake Chandler RBI single. Chandler later scored on an error by Matthew Infante, who was attempting a pickoff move at first base.
J.C. Carroll reached base on the Warriors’ first error of the inning, coming on low throw from Jenkins at third base. Carroll scored later in the inning on an error by Worsley at shortstop.
Valwood took its lead in the top of the fourth inning, when the Warriors committed two costly errors that allowed the Valiants to keep the inning alive.
The inning didn’t start well for the Warriors when Valwood’s Heath Martin reached on an error by Worsley at short. Then, after Keaton Taylor and Ben Browning reached based on a single and walk respectively and Eric Ward struck out, Carroll grounded into a fielder’s choice, which would have ended the inning if it had not been for the error.
With the extended inning, Valwood made the Warriors pay. A two-run single by Jake Chandler scored Taylor and Browning, before an error at second base by Luke Hannan scored Carroll and Chandler, giving Valwood a 7-5 lead.
Open Bible tied the game at 7-7 in the bottom of the fourth inning. scoring two runs on four walks issued by Valwood pitchers. Jenkins and Worsley scored both runs for the Warriors, after reached on walks. Jenkins scored on an RBI hit-by-pitch by Matthew Infante, while Worsley scored on an RBI walk by Patrick Eason.
Valwood scored two more runs in the top of the fifth inning, before Open Bible responded with its nine-run inning. Heath Martin started the inning with a walk and later scored on a wild pitch by Nathan Infante, the inning pitcher for the Warriors. Keaton Taylor reached based on an error by Hannan at second base. He scored on another wild pitch from Infante.