E.A. Sports Today

Raiders bow out

Pleasant Valley eliminated from Class 3A playoffs by a Locust Fork team that answered every Raiders challenge

By East Alabama Sports Today

LOCUST FORK – The rubber game of the Class 3A playoff series between Pleasant Valley and Locust Fork couldn’t have started any better for the Raiders, but after the first inning they couldn’t catch a break.

The Raiders scored four runs in the top of the first and appeared to seize the momentum for a trip to the second round. Instead, Locust Fork got five in the bottom of the inning and went on to beat the Raiders 10-6.

PV (15-13) tied the game 5-5 in the third, but the Hornets (17-15) scored four in the fourth to go back on top for good. Locust Fork will now host Ohatchee (15-13) in a Round 2 series starting Friday.

“It’s always good to get a good start, but Locust Fork is a good team,” PV coach Chris Youngman said. “It’s like boxing. When you throw a punch get ready because the other team, if they’re a good ball team, is going to throw a counter punch. They just got a few more punches in today and we didn’t get enough counter punches.”

The Raiders, a seasoned team in their third straight playoffs, forced the winner-take-all third game by winning the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader and batted around in the first Saturday. They scored their first run on a balk, Drew Bonds had an RBI single and DH Dalton Page had a two-run single. But the Hornets sent 11 to the plate in the bottom of the inning and assumed the lead.

The Raiders tied it in the third on Ashton King’s two-out RBI single. But the Hornets came up big again with Andrew Rogers’ bases-loaded two-run double and a two-run single by Lukas Huber – the last of five straight hits to open the inning.

Pleasant Valley scored its final run in the sixth on an error off Triston Salster’s grounder, but there were several instances in the game where they came within inches of delivering two-run hits that were thwarted by a Locust Fork infielder being in the right spot.

“It just seemed like we couldn’t catch a break,” Youngman said. “Everything we hit hard was right at somebody. We hit a bunch of hard balls today, but we just never could catch a break. Sometimes it goes like that. It was just a bad day not to catch a break.

“It seemed like it was opposites. Our balls were straight at people and theirs were just finding holes, right out of our reach here or right out of reach there. You have those days. You don’t want to have those days, especially this time of the year, but some days you have them and today was just one of them.”

Page, Bonds and Alex Parris were all 2-for-4 for the Raiders.

Game Three
Pleasant Valley 401 001 0 – 6 9 3
Locust Fork 500 401 x – 10 10 5

WP: Dodd. LP: Salster. 2B: Bonds (PV), Parris (PV), Dodd (LF), Rogers 2 (LF), Dyar.

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