Spring Valley holds off Bengals

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood had the game-winning run on first base in the bottom of the seventh before falling 9-8 to Region V-5A rival Spring Valley Tuesday night.

But on Senior Night at Blythewood stadium, the potential for late-inning heroics hardly mattered to Banks Faulkner.

The Bengals head coach had watched his team give up five runs on two hits, two errors and three hit batters in the second inning. Then he saw his team give up four more runs in the third.

Alex Canino (24) hurls one from the mound. | Martha Ladd

By that point, all the runs—and all the highs of the six-game winning streak that preceded the loss—melted away into oblivion.

“I told them that until we can pitch and play defense, and we’ve shown some signs that we can do that in the last six or seven games, but until we can do that, we’re going to continue to get that result,” Faulkner said. “The gang knows that when you don’t do that—and we almost cheated the game to come back and win—but it always comes back to bite you.”

The bite began early for Blythewood (13-9).

Starting pitcher Ben Lang-Spittler got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning when he struck out Khyree Miller to retire the side. Lang-Spittler’s good fortune only lasted one frame.

Lang-Spittler hit Spring Valley batters Chris Rivers and Kyle Rogers to start the second, and it didn’t get any prettier.

After Jonathan Sanders hit into a fielder’s choice, Lang- Spittler issued a walk to Jaiden Garner to load the bases with one out.

Frank Tolar allowed the first two runs to score when his ground ball confounded second baseman Landon Lucas. That error allowed Samuel Branham, courtesy running for pitcher Kyle Rogers, and Jaylen Davis, courtesy running for Sanders, to score.

Da’Avion Sumpter’s one-out single plated Garner. After Wynston Dyer struck out, Hunter Rogers singled in both Tolar and Sumpter to make it 5-0 Vikings.

Spring Valley loaded the bases again. With Rogers aboard, Miller reached on an infield error, and Lang-Spittler again hit Rivers, who was batting for the second time in the inning.

In this bases-loaded scenario, Faulkner yanked his starter in favor of Alex Canino. Canino got Tyler Rogers to ground out to end the inning.

“That’s just the way we’ve been,” Faulkner said about how Spring Valley made a big inning of the second. “We’ve been a team that has not been able to make routine plays, and we weren’t ready to pitch either, and that was disappointing because we’ve been pitching a lot better.”

Blythewood got three runs back in the bottom of the second. Spring Valley starter Kyle Rogers walked Lang-Spittler. After Brady Beasley flied out, Brady Carson reached on a Vikings error to put runners at first and second for Jordan Flemming.

As Flemming batted, Lang-Spittler made his way to third and Beasley to second. When Flemming hit a long fly ball out to right field, Lang-Spittler trotted in on the sacrifice fly. On that play, Spring Valley third baseman Hunter Rogers mishandled rightfielder Jaiden Garner’s throw, which enabled Beasley to reach the plate safely.

That play paved the way for Jansen Stokes’ 2-out solo home run over the fence in right to make it 5-3 Vikings.

Hinson flied out to centerfield to end the inning

Just when the Bengals looked to overtake Spring Valley, the Vikings put up four more runs in the third, on three hits and another Blythewood error. Canino left early in the inning to make way for Hinson on the mound.

Hinson and the Blythewood defense stopped the bleeding. The reliever got the final two outs of the third inning and 2-hit the Vikings over the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. Cole Riley pitched a scoreless seventh.

With the Spring Valley offense cooled, Blythewood had several chances to get some runs. Down 9-3 after the third, the Bengals hit on a four-run fourth inning to cut that lead to 9-7.

When Tolar took the mound to work the fifth and sixth innings, the Bengals offense dried up.

In their last chance to make things right, the Bengals of the past winning week reappeared.

Tolar struggled to find the plate, walking John Lanier and Lang-Spittler. Then Beasley stepped up and drove in Lanier with a single up the middle.

With Lang-Spittler at third, Beasley at first, and nobody out, Blythewood’s rally came to an abrubt end.

Carson struck out. Flemming’s bunt didn’t go far enough from the plate to enable Lang’ Spittler to slide in safely, and with two out, Stokes popped out to short to end the game.

Blythewood plays at Lexington Wednesday and closes out region play at Spring Valley Thursday.

“If we pitch and play defense over there (at Lexington) the way we did tonight, we’ll get our tails cut,” Faulkner said. “That’s a good veteran solid fundamental team that ain’t gonna do the things on the field that we did tonight.”

SVHS – 0-5-4-0-0-0-0 – 9, 8, 2

BHS – 0-3-0-4-0-0-1 – 8, 7, 4

WP: Kyle Rogers LP: Ben Lang-Spittler

Hitters: Spring Valley – Jaiden Garner 2-3, Hunter Rogers 2-3. Khyree Miller 2B. Blythewood – Brady Beasley 2-4. Jansen Stokes HR.