Defense can sometimes be an underrated attribute in the world of sports.
However, when a team plays defense with a certain flare, swagger, and above all consistency people will start to take notice.
That's exactly what the Valley View legion baseball team accomplished last night, making incredible defensive plays throughout the ball game en-route to a 13-3 Schuylkill/Berks first round playoff victory.
Valley View didn't waste anytime getting on the scoreboard, getting five runs in the first inning. The reason being, Tamaqua walking the first two Valley View batters to start the inning. Tanner Troutman then made the Blue Sox pay later in the inning with a two-run double to help propel the West Enders to an early 5-0 lead.
"Walking a leadoff batter to start the game is just bad news early on," said Tamaqua coach Todd Heisler. "Then we walked the second guy and the third guy got a hit so we just got into some trouble there. It's just not a good way to start off a ball game and getting down 5-0 in a playoff game is never an easy thing to come back from."
Valley View really never gave Tamaqua a chance to get back in the game and they did it with defense. They showed on multiple occasions they were a highly talented bunch turning double play after double play, making diving stops, and running down fly balls with almost a collegiate level skill set.
The first of many double double plays came in the second when a sharp ground ball was hit to short stop Hunter Bordner who backhanded the ball, whipped it to Sam Spickler, who then threw a dart to Harold Whery to get the West Enders out of the inning.
Bordner then made one of the most impressive plays on the day in the fourth when he dove for a line drive to his left and made the catch. Bordner then flipped the ball to second to make yet another double play for Valley View. The West Enders defense kept Tamaqua at bay all evening long.
"They hit the ball hard at us, but our kids just made some great plays," said Valley View coach Bob Felty Sr. "The kids have been playing well defensively all season and they proved today that they have the ability to play good solid defense. Getting out to that 5-0 lead really helped us out immensely as well. We put some pressure on their pitcher early and we got some runs, which helped us get the win."
A six run sixth inning for Valley View finished off the Blue Sox. The West Siders tallied four hits in the inning with Joseph Dietrich and Cole Neidlinger combining for five RBIs. Dietrich hit a bases clearing triple, while Nedlinger hit a two-run double.
For Tamaqua Peter Baddick Jr. had a hit and an RBI and Dylan Delay had two hits.
With the loss Tamaqua will now face Pine Grove, while Valley View will square off against Pottsville.
Tamaqua 010 002 X - 3 4 4
Valley View 510 016 X - 13 9 0
Rottet, Zehner (3), Hosler (6), and Matsago; Masser, Wehry (6), and Nedlinger. W - Masser L - Rottet.