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Defenses duel in Stilly Valley's loss to South Snohomish
MILL CREEK — Coming into the Mill Creek minors tournament bracket the No. 7 seed out of eight teams, the second Stilly Valley team put up a great defense.
Nonetheless, they fell 7-3 to the tournament's No. 2 seed, South Snohomish, in a June 24 elimination game at Freedom Field.
Despite injury to starting pitcher Jeremiah Burkins forcing adjustments to the Stilly Valley bullpen plan, Michael Luque held South Snohomish scoreless through the first two innings. Meanwhile, batting guest, Stilly Valley scored two runs in the top of the second for a 2-0 lead. Catcher Hunter Gardoski walked and moved into scoring position on a successful bunt by Jacob Olson. Both players moved around the bases thanks to a few wild pitches by the Snohomish starter. Olson slid home for the Stilly Valley team's second run while his successor in the lineup, Hunter Warner, was still at the plate.
In the bottom of the third, Snohomish started getting some hits on Luque, which caused nerves on the Stilly defense. After striking out one, Snohomish walked and then had three consecutive hits to score its first run of the game. The next two batters put the ball in play and scored runners before the eighth batter grounded out to first base. Stilly trailed 4-2.
Snohomish added two runs in the fourth.
Once again Gardoski got on base leading off in the fifth inning with a double to center field. Though his teammates would not get on base in the inning, Warner batted in Gardoski's run. Snohomish scored its seventh and final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth.
With two outs in the top of the six and their tournament on the line, Stilly Valley's Michael Golder hit a triple, but it was all the team could come up with at the plate.
"Both teams played very, very well," said Stilly Valley manager Ron Rumple. "This is a group of boys that came in from different environments, different teams, to go on the field and be competitive."