Warriors nipped by Rebs, 8-7

By Kim Richardson
STAR Correspondent

   Ryan Toney entered Thursday's game against the Rebels of Sullivan South with nothing to do but hold on to a two-run lead. Easier said than done.
   "They have a very good team," said disappointed Happy Valley coach Greg Hyder following his team's 8-7 loss at Cannon-Gouge Park. "But we certainly didn't help ourselves or our pitching with all those errors."
   Toney couldn't get a break. He worked through the fifth in fine fashion and the leadoff walk he surrendered to begin the sixth didn't at first seem catastrophic. But after a single, another runner reached on an error, which plated one and put runners at the corners.
   Another walk and they were all loaded up for Nathan Free. Free placed a blooping slicer down the right field which hit within inches of the foul line. Suddenly the Warriors had gone from a 5-3 lead to a 6-5 deficit.
   "We just have to stop making bad plays," said a dejected Buchanan. "We've been hitting the ball well, and playing good defense, but not with any consistency."
   First baseman Jordy Harrison concurred.
   "We're going to bounce back," he said. "We've worked too hard to start giving key games away."
   Buchanan continued: "We'll get a big win. We still have confidence enough in our hitting, our arms and our defense. We'll cut down on these errors and bounce back -- I'm sure of it."
   Sullivan South coach Anthony Richardson was glad to get the win, but, "more relieved than anything."
   Yeah, it's good to win, but this is our fourth game this week, and we lost to Unaka yesterday, giving us three straight losses," Richardson said.
   "We got good pitching from Dustin (Morh)," Coach Richardson continued. Anytime you get a complete game victory against a team as talented as happy Valley, you know your pitcher played well. He got himself into, and then out of a couple jams, but overall, a very solid performance.
   "Coach Hyder has a very good team. He has their attention, their hustle, and they play like they want to win. I think they'll be a team to be reckoned with come tournament time."
   The Warriors jumped right back into attack mode. Drew Davis ripped a base hit, and with one out Buchanon walked. After a groundout Ricky Morgan hit a single, scoring Bavis and Buchanon. Next up, Todd Caldwell hit a deep fly out near the right field fence, but the play was made and just like that, the Warriors' rally ended.
   "We can still win a lot of games," Hyder said. "I'm frustrated, the players are frustrated. They're giving the effort. We've played some very good teams, but we cannot continue to make so many errors and expect to beat anybody."
   Ryan Garland expressed the feelings of most of his teammates following the close loss.
   "We know we can play better than this," he said. "We just have to keep our heads up and work things out."
   But there were bright spots: Tim Whaley misjudged a shallow fly ball in the top of the seventh, but recovered and made a great, sliding catch.
   Aaron Hudgins doubled before Scott Daniels walked. Hunter Fish struck out before Mohr hit a bouncer to short, which was booted.
   Drew Davis retrieved the ball and threw home to gun down Hudgins, keeping the Warriors within one at eight to seven; and making Whaley's recovery all the more mportant.
   Whaley flew to deep center, Toney walked before the Rebels closed the deal with a 6-4-3 double play.