Happy Valley overwhelms Cloudland

By Wes Holtsclaw

   One shot was all it took.
   After tying the game with the Cloudland Highlanders early in the first inning, Tim Whaley sent a grand slam flying out of Cannon-Gouge Memorial Park, helping the Happy Valley Warriors take the 17-3 win over the 'Landers.
   "This was a good all-around effort," said Warrior coach Greg Hyder. "We played aggressive and hit the ball well. Cloudland's kids came ready to play. They returned a lot of people, we just took the sting out of them in the first.
   "Tim Whaley's home run was a huge help, as was Cody Cannon -- he had a nice day and pulled his weight today. Michael Holmes, he struggled in the offseason, but he battled out here today. Our maturity level is a big asset. It's better than it's been in past years."
   Cloudland came out in the first inning and got a quick score after Mark Byrd took a base on a wild pitch, followed by a Caleb Denton double, which sent him in.
   The latter part of the first inning was signed over to the Happy Valley offense. As Jon Harrison got on base with a single, and was knocked in two batters later with a Shawn Baer double to tie the 'Landers.
   Singles from Daniel Back and Cannon led up to Whaley, who sent James Gardner's pitch screaming into left center for a grand slam homer.
   Lamar Rollins followed that up by knocking in Forrest Holt, and would later be sent in himself from Harrison. Coty Whitlock brought Dusty Hendrix for a run, giving Happy Valley the 8-1 advantage after the first.
   The second frame was what the Warriors needed, as Holmes worked around Cloudland, sitting down three batters. The Tribe wasn't finished there.
   Whaley and Holt came in with an RBI single apiece, setting the pace for Hendrix, who drove in a double with three RBIs.
   Happy Valley wouldn't stop there, as Cannon smacked a two-run shot into centerfield, giving the Warriors the 16-1 lead and forcing Cloudland to make a change on the mound.
   Mark Byrd stepped up pitching for the 'Landers, and brought them out of the tough inning. However, the 'Lander bats couldn't get anything working, thus sending the Warriors back for more.
   Happy Valley only scored one time in the inning, as Rollins was brought in from a walk. Byrd eventually sat down three batters, ending the frame for Cloudland.
   The fourth inning would go scoreless for both teams, giving the 'Landers one more chance against Happy Valley.
   Caleb Denton would send Josh Johnson in with another RBI shot, and was brought in himself by Mark Barnett. But it wouldn't be enough, as Happy Valley would close the 17-3 victory.
   "They are an outstanding team," said Cloudland coach Jeff Bradley. "They are a hitting team, which we knew that coming in. Our goal today was to get the pitchers some pitches and make some plays in the outfield."
   "It's going to be rough early until they all get in shape. Our hitting is way ahead of what it's been the past couple of years."
   Happy Valley had a great overall hitting day, delivering 15 hits in 35 at bats, while Cloudland couldn't find the bat for the majority of the day.
   Caleb Denton led the 'Landers going three for three with two RBI's, while Cannon, Whaley and Rollins topped the charts for the Warriors.