Jr. Warriors turn back Baby 'Dogs

By Marvin Birchfield

   "One little, two little, three little Indians, four little, five little, six little Indians, seven little, eight little, nine little Indians, a team of mighty Warriors."
   The Happy Valley Jr. Warriors did the Wa-hoo stomp on the Hampton Bulldogs Tuesday by winning back-to-back games, 4-1 and 13-3, in double-header action at Cannon-Gouge Park.
   It was a stellar performance at the mound and very few mistakes in the field that enabled Happy Valley to get on the warpath.
   In the first game, the Warriors didn't give Hampton much of a chance to get themselves in position for scoring opportunities.
   Just one hit was all that Warrior pitcher Alan Dykes allowed, and it didn't come until the last inning of play.
   "That was Alan's best game of the year, and I think he was relaxed and his breaking ball was working really well," said Happy Valley pitching coach Rick Morgan.
   Happy Valley jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning, when a couple of errors by the Bulldogs cost them a score.
   "We didn't execute in the first game, and we had three unearned runs," said Hampton coach C.B. Hardin. "We didn't get behind our pitcher."
   An error to the shortstop allowed Ryan Garland to put the first runs of the game on the board.
   The second run came off of a single hit by Dykes, which drove in Larry Creed to give the Warriors the early momentum.
   The Warriors struck again in the second frame, when a passed ball gave opportunity for Ryan May to score.
   Happy Valley extended their lead 4-0 in the fourth, after a throw from second-base sailed over the first-baseman's head, leaving Garland all alone and uncontested in crossing the plate.
   After going hitless through the first four innings, the Bulldogs finally captured a hit plus a score.
   Lead-off batter Cody Montgomery ripped a double to center field and eventually came around to score after an error by the shortstop was committed.
   "We have a great group of seventh graders that have impressed me, and they made some great plays in the outfield," said Warrior hitting coach Gene Caldwell. "That says a lot when they are stepping up playing with the eighth graders."
   The second game of the evening ended with an early execution of hitting, which pounded the Bulldogs in four innings of play by the final of 13-3.
   Hampton came out looking like a different team to start the game, as they grabbed the lead of 2-0 in the top of the first.
   "We did start hitting the ball," Hardin said. "We've struggled on hitting all year long."
   Andrew Norman was trying to match the pitching performance of Dykes in the prior game, which didn't exactly come in the first frame, but he finished up strong the rest of the contest.
   Norman hit the first batter he faced, followed by a strikeout, and then two consecutive hits to score the Bulldogs' first two runs.
   "Andrew hit the first batter and got a little rattled starting off, but Rick calmed him down and he did all right the rest of the way," said Happy Valley coach Mark Norman.
   A double from Brandon Barnett to center field drove home Adam Townsend, and a single from Cody Scalf scored Barnett.
   The Warriors came back in the bottom of the inning to take away the momentum that the Bulldogs had obtained.
   A nice diving catch was made from Townsend to get the Bulldogs' first out, but it was all Happy Valley from that point on.
   A shot up the middle from Todd Caldwell knocked in Garland to get Happy Valley on the board.
   Errors were the big story of this inning as Hampton committed two, one which allowed Kevin Jesse and Caldwell to score.
   "We started making errors again, and one game we don't make many, and the next one we look like the 'Bad News Bears,'" said Hardin.
   A fielder's choice from Drew Davis brought home Rickey Morgan to give the Warriors a 4-2 advantage after the first frame.
   "I thought we had some key hits that jump-started us, and it built confidence for Andrew on the mound," said Gene Caldwell.
   Garland struck again for Happy Valley in the second frame by knocking a double to center-field, and crossing the plate on a passed ball.
   The Bulldogs closed the lead back down to two in the third, when a fielder's choice from Jordan Honeycutt scored Alex Ingram.
   The Warriors were on the attack in the bottom of the third with five runs being scored off of three hits.
   The first run came when B.J. Townsend knocked a RBI to score Davis.
   A double from Daniel Shankle and a couple of walks forced Hampton to make a pitching change with Eric Cole coming to the mound replacing Scalf.
   A single from Caldwell drove home Shankle and Garland, and another hit from Morgan knocked home Jesse and Caldwell.
   Norman was on track for the last three innings, as he gave up just one hit after the first frame.
   The Warriors added the final nail to the coffin in the bottom of the fourth, with a pass ball that scored Townsend and Norman to set up the last play of the game.
   With Garland at the plate, he would crush a triple to center-field to score Shankle, and end the game with the 10-run rule coming into effect.
   "Our catcher's have done a really good job all year, and Ryan Garland is probably the best one in the league, and Ryan May is doing a real good job behind the plate," said Rick Morgan.