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Midland Valley squeezes past South Aiken

Posted: March 29, 2017 - 12:56am
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Midland Valley’s Ethan Ennis swings at a pitch during last week’s game. He tripled and scored in the fifth inning.

LANGLEY - A leadoff triple and wild pitch were enough to throw Midland Valley into a region logjam.

The Mustangs took advantage of mistakes and supported Ethan Deer enough to beat South Aiken 3-2 on March 21 in another tight Region 4-AAAA game.

Low-scoring, hotly-contested matchups have become the norm in what's developed into a competitive region between area South Carolina programs.

Midland Valley's win pushed its region record to 2-2 along with South Aiken, while Airport, North Augusta and Aiken were either playing for first or remained in the mix.

"It was a huge game for us," Midland Valley coach Brad Richard­son said. "It's kind of a tight region race right now. It was a huge game to kind of get us back into the mix of things."

With Connor O'Rear on the mound for South Aiken, the challenge was apparent for Midland Valley's lineup.

It took Thoroughbred mistakes and manufactured offense to produce enough to support Deer's efforts.

Deer allowed two runs on six hits in 6⅓ innings, walking two and striking out five, while O'Rear gave up three runs on four hits in six innings, striking out 11.

The Mustangs struck early with a run in the first inning when Ethan Ennis reached on an error, advanced on a stolen base and scored on another error. They added a second run in the second on a Brandon Paradise RBI single.

The Thoroughbreds broke the shutout in the third when a wild pitch brought home a run, then three consecutive batters reached with two outs, capped by a Tannar Batchelor game-tying RBI single.

The score remained tied at 2 until Ennis tripled to lead off the bottom of the fifth and scored on a wild pitch. It proved to be the winning run as South Aiken left two on in the sixth and the tying run on second base in the seventh.

Logan Pate relieved Deer with one out and the runner on second in the final frame, and he got two consecutive outs on a flyout and groundout.

"We got a good pitching performance from Ethan Deer," Richardson said. "He had been shaky the last couple starts. He was our No. 1 guy last year coming into this year, so we expect Ethan to throw that way all the time. He delivered tonight."

 

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