E.A. Sports Today

More Moose magic

Pleasant Valley’s new mascot brings more luck to team as Raiders rally to beat Jacksonville, Gaylesville

By East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Moose the Minion worked more of his magic Saturday as Pleasant Valley won two more games, including a tense extra-inning duel with Jacksonville, to extend its winning streak to three games.

The Raiders rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat Jacksonville 3-2, then bounced back with two in the fourth after giving up a game-tying big inning to beat Gaylesville 11-6.

And Moose the Minion had a front-row seat to it all.

The Raiders (5-13) picked up their new mascot on a team-building trip to Gulf Shores and have gone 3-1 with him by their side. All three of the wins have been of the come-from-behind variety. The loss was by one run.

“He’s brought a lot of spunk to our team,” PV coach Chris Youngman said of Moose, who has become such an item he even has his own Instagram page.

(In case you missed it, the story of Moose’s adoption is posted below)

In the Jacksonville game, PV starter Caden McCurdy and Jacksonville’s Colton Clark matched zeroes for seven innings.

The Golden Eagles put together a two-out rally in the top of the eighth to take the lead. Clark singled home Josh Glass with the first run and Brant Deerman smartly dashed home when the Raiders threw through to get Clark at second.

Brody Phillips came on after McCurdy had hit 118 pitches and the two runs had scored and finished the inning.

The Raiders loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning with a single and two hit batsmen. Caden Turner came up with one out and smashed a ball to third. Tay Loud’s throw to the plate was in the dirt allowing two runs to score, but Alex Parris was cut down at home trying to score when catcher Colin Casey’s throw back got past Clark.

Meanwhile, Turner is advancing around the bases and when he gets to third it was ruled he was pushed off the bag and awarded home with the winning run via obstruction.

In the win over Gaylesville the Raiders bounced back to score two in the home fourth after the Trojans tied the game with six runs in the top of the inning.

Parris broke the tie with an RBI line single and he later scored on a wild pitch. Parris went 2-for-4 in the game with four RBIs and reached base three times. Dakota Jones went 3-for-3 and reached base all four times he batted.

Nick Charping threw three innings of two-hit shutout relief behind winner Jackson Almaroad to preserve the victory.

“They just never quit,” Youngman said. “We tell them believe in what you can do, control what you can control. It took us getting over that little hill in Gulf Shores, believing we can compete as long as we keep competing.

“It’s coming at a good time for us. We overcame adversity at the beginning of the year and now we’re getting a hot streak going and it’s timing up just right. Hopefully we’ll finish out the end of this season with a hot streak.”

There’s no word yet if Moose will be added to the rotation or simply keep his position in the dugout.

Pleasant Valley 3, Jacksonville 2
Jacksonville 000 000 02 — 2 3 2
Pleasant Valley 000 000 03 — 3 3 1

WP: Brody Phillips. LP: Colton Clark. Hits – Jacksonville: Brant Deerman, Colton Clark 2; PV: Caden Turner 2, Brody Phillips. RBIs – Jacksonville: Colton Clark.

Pleasant Valley 11, Gaylesville 6
Gaylesville 000 600 0 — 6 9 7
Pleasant Valley 330 221 x — 11 9 3

WP: Jackson Almaroad. LP: Brandon Crane. 2B: Colby Scott (G). Hits – Gaylesville: Brayden Stordahl 2, Austin Stordahl 3, Jared Campbell, Devin Bentheimer, Landon Lawson, Colby Scott; PV: Dakota Jones 3, Alex Parris 2, Nick Charping, Nick Howard, Brody Phillips. RBIs – Gaylesville: Brayden Stordahl, Austin Stordahl 2, Colby Scott; PV: Dakota Jones, Alex Parris 4, Nick Charping, Reid Hightower.

Here’s how the Raiders came to have Moose by their side:

GULF SHORES — Chris Youngman brought his first Pleasant Valley baseball team to Gulf Shores this week with hopes of building some brotherhood within the ranks.

He also was hoping the Raiders would find success on the field before heading back to Calhoun County and they did on the final day with the help of the newest member of the team.

Alex Parris’ two-out, two-run double in the top of the eighth and some gutsy late-inning pitching by Dalton Payne lifted the Raiders to a 7-5 win over 6A Gulf Shoals that made the trip a success.

“We’ve had several situations where we’ve been in this predicament before and didn’t get through it,” Youngman said. “We do a morning devotional and the word this morning was ‘perseverance.’ They took that word to heart and found a way tonight.”

Sitting on the bench for it all was the Raiders’ new one-eyed Minion mascot “Moose,” who they won with a collective coupon gathering effort at the arcade Tuesday before they played.

“We played at 7 and I didn’t want them at the beach all day, so we went to the track and they raced the go-carts,” Youngman said. “We had about an hour left so we decided to go to the arcade.

“Everybody played their own game and they started to get tickets. That’s when they decided we should buy one of those stuffed animals. The cheapest one was like a monkey for 2,500 (points). They got up there and Caden McCurdy gets a jackpot for 750, then we got another one. Then Nick Smith hits a jackpot for 1,000 and all of a sudden they have 4,300 tickets. The minion was 4,000.

“I told them I didn’t care (which one they got) but it had to be a group effort, make a decision as a group, and they picked out the Minion. They named him ‘Moose,’ and Nick Smith is his caregiver.”

The players gave their extra tickets to a random child who hadn’t been as successful at the games.

Moose was on the bench during the Raiders’ 2-1 loss to 6A Robertsdale later that evening and was there for every minute of Wednesday’s thriller.

“It was one of those things that if something good happened somebody gave him a high-five,” Youngman said. “I think Moose brings a little fun into the dugout, one of those reminders that it’s still a game.”

With two quality starts on his resume, look for Moose in a dugout near you when the Raiders return home.

“I told them as long as he’s managed correctly and Nick can baby sit, he’s fine,” Youngman said.

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