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Arcadia Valley trumps West County in pitching duel

IRONTON – There were only six hits in the game, mainly because there were also 19 strike-outs when the Arcadia Valley Tigers hosted the West County Bulldogs Thursday in a pitching duel that ended in a Tigers’ 4-1 win.

A.J. Pollock threw a two-hitter for the Tigers for the win. Pollock walked seven batters but kept in control by striking out 11 and allowing only two balls hit into the outfield.

“What more can you ask for?” queried Arcadia Valley coach Steve Pursley. “A.J. (Pollock) gave us an outstanding performance. He kept us always in the ball game. When he had runners on base, he kept his composure and pitched out of the jam.”

Pollock recorded all three outs as strikeouts in the sixth inning after allowing two men to reach base. His biggest escape however came by a mistake.

With the score tied 1-1 in the third inning, the Bulldogs had bases loaded with two outs, when a wild pitch by Pollock short-hopped the catcher Ryan Esselman and went to the screen. Esselman retrieved the ball and dove back to the plate to catch the Bulldog runner in time for the third out.

Defense played a big part of the Tigers’ win as they recorded only one error in the game. Three times Esselman made the block and threw out batters at first after they had swung at strike three pitches in the dirt. The Tigers cut down lead runners twice, one of them being a sacrifice attempt by the Bulldogs. The Tigers also turned a double play in the fifth inning.

“We really work with the guys on communication, to listen with their ears to their teammates while they make the play,” said Coach Pursley.

Despite suffering the loss, the Bulldogs also played a strong game. John Barnett threw a four-hitter in taking the loss. Barnett struck out eight batters and did not walk a batter except two who were hit by pitches. The Bulldogs committed three errors, but it did not affect the outcome of the game.

“We just couldn’t hit the ball today,” said West County coach John Simily. “It was a good ball game. We played a good game. We just couldn’t get the hits. Their pitcher (Pollock) pitched a fine one.”

West County’s only run came in the third inning Jake Blair reaching base on a fielder’s choice and eventually scoring on a bases-loaded walk by James Whitehead. All six of the Bulldogs batters reached base in the inning, but other than the one run, they could not capitalize on it.

Arcadia Valley did capitalize on their opportunities. The Tigers’ first run was unearned in the first inning Logan Smith reached on an error and scored on a second one. The Tigers had two hits each in the two innings they scored their other three runs.

Lead-off batter Jacob Yarbrough reached after being hit by a pitch and Nick Benz followed with a single. A passed ball set up the runners in scoring position, and Pollock helped himself as he hit a double in the gap in right-center to score both runners in the fourth inning.

Smith hit a two-out double in the fifth inning and two batters later Benz drove him in with a single in the hole between short and third.

West County, 1-2, will host Greenville this afternoon. Arcadia Valley, 1-2, will also play Greenville at home for their next game, which will be on Monday.

West County 001 000 0 – 1 2 3

Arcadia Valley 100 210 x – 4 4 1

West County –

Hitting: Barnett, Abel.

Pitching: LP- Barnett 6i 4r 4h 8k 0bb 2hp

Arcadia Valley –

Hitting: Benz 2. 2b- Smith, Pollock.

Pitching: WP- Pollock 1r 2h 11k 7bb

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