Top-ranked Valle ends season for Woodland baseball team

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Warriors scored 11 runs in the second inning of the Class 2 District 3 semifinal game

One early nightmare inning ended any hopes the Woodland baseball team had of pulling off a monumental upset.

Top-seeded Valle Catholic scored 11 second-inning runs and routed fourth-seeded Woodland 14-2 in Tuesday's semifinal of the Class 2 District 3 tournament at Saxony Lutheran.

The run-rule victory, stopped after 4 1/2 innings, sends the state's top-ranked Class 2 squad into today's 4 p.m. championship game against second-seeded Chaffee.

"One big inning," Valle coach Judd Naeger said. "We were able to take some good at-bats. We've been in a slump so it's good to score 14 runs."

The monster inning, which wiped out a 1-0 Woodland lead, featured six hits, four errors, four batters hit by pitches and a walk.

"Sometimes you look like a young team that's a little bit nervous in its first district tournament," said Woodland coach Jason Crane, whose squad features just three seniors and no juniors.

A leadoff double by Thomas Hermann started Valle's huge inning.

Sophomore C.J. McAlister issued a walk, hit the next two batters, allowed a single and hit two more batters.

By that time the Warriors (20-5) had gone ahead 4-1. They didn't stop until they had put the Cardinals (8-10) into an 11-1 hole. Nine of the runs were earned.

"Those are the things we're going to have to correct next year," Crane said about the Cardinals' play during the second inning.

Neil Johnson, one of Woodland's three seniors who is among the area's premier players, said there was plenty of blame to go around in the 11-run frame.

"The pitcher had a little control issues. We made some errors. ... We win and lose as a team," Johnson said. "Valle is really a tough team, well rounded. They all hit, one through nine, and they have good arms."

Woodland got off to a solid start with an unearned run in the top of the first inning.

Senior David Gray led off with an infield single and was sacrificed to second by senior Hayden Mayfield. Sophomore Dylan Miller's two-out single sent Gray to third and Miller scored on an error.

McAlister retired Valle in the bottom of the first before running into trouble in the second.

The Cardinals got their other run in the third inning, on an RBI fielder's choice by Miller, and the Warriors scored their final three runs in the bottom of the frame.

McAlister was charged with seven runs, all earned, in taking the loss. He allowed four hits before departing the mound with nobody out in the second inning.

Johnson, Woodland's third hurler, worked a scoreless fourth inning, striking out one.

That was significant because it gave Johnson, who will play baseball for Three Rivers Community College, 100 career strikeouts. He lobbied Crane to pitch after throwing nine innings the previous day in a first-round win over Kelly.

"He begged me to come in because he wanted to get 100 strikeouts," Crane said. "He's had a great career and it worked out for him."

Alex Stoll went 4 for 4 to lead Valle's 11-hit attack. Michael Loida drove in three runs.

Woodland had only four hits and committed six errors.

Woodland10100--246
Valle0(11)30x--14113

WP -- Andrew Bader. LP -- C.J. McAlister. 2B -- Alex Stoll (V), Thomas Hermann (V). Multiple hits -- Valle: Stoll 4-4, Luke Uding 2-4. Records -- Woodland 8-10, Valle 20-5.

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