Baines batting seals deal for Happy Valley

Published 9:27 pm Friday, April 17, 2015

by Bryce Phillips

Star Staff

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By the bat of Ryne Baines, the Warriors were able to escape with a 4-3 win over the Johnson County Longhorns Friday at Cannon Gouge Park.

In the eight inning, with the game tied at three and Happy Valley’s Zack Hyder on third, Baines stepped up to the plate and fired a single to left field, allowing Hyder scurry home to end the game.

“I was thinking, ‘This kid is not going to beat me,’ ” Baines said of Johnson County pitcher Logan Sargent. “I was going to be as confident as possible. I was not trying to think too much. It was just see the ball, hit the ball, really.”

Over the course of eight frames, Baines went 3 of 3 against the Longhorns.

“He has been our best player over the past week,” Happy Valley coach Caleb Moore said. “He has been coming up with big hits. He has been squaring up to the ball well. Right now, there is not a better hitter that we want up there. We have faith in him, and he came through for us.”

Hyder was also deadly from the plate during the game as he went 3 of 4 with one RBI. In the final frame, Hyder’s speed allowed him to steal his way to third before Baines brought him home.

“We try to tell everybody that everyone has a certain skill set that can help the team,” Moore said. “Zach has fast legs. He did really great out there in the base paths. He was really smart with his base running. He gave great effort making his way around the bases.”

In the top of the eight, Happy Valley pitcher Justin Morefield came into relieve Dustin Sams. Morefield did not waste any time as he struck out three batters in a row to give Happy Valley another chance at the plate.

“That was huge,” Coach Moore said about Morefield’s big inning. “That is what we have been waiting for all season. He and I have talked about it, and, you know, the sky’s the limit with him. We have been working on his finesse and hitting the corners. He came out today and really pitched with a lot more emotion. He was ready to take that role today.”

Sams started things up for the Warriors from the mound as he pitched seven innings, throwing six strikeouts against zero walks. He held the Longhorns to just three hits in his seven innings on the hill.

The Longhorns got on board first in the third frame as Daniel Livorsi and Samuel Icenhour recorded runs in the inning. Johnson County scored again in the fourth with Jake Bowers making his way home.

After scoring two runs in the fourth inning, the Warriors were kept alive in the seventh by Chris Young, who knocked in Dylan Townsend with a single to send the game into extra innings.

“It was a close game, but at this point in the season if you put more points up than the opposing team then that is that matters,” Moore said.

The Warriors were to be back in action Saturday as they took on Knox-Fulton at 1:30 p.m. at home.