By Jeremy McDonald
CHANDLER, Ariz.– The Salem-based Valley Baseball Club traveled down to the Grand Canyon State this past weekend, going 3-1 at the Baseball Showcase MLK Tournament. Finishing third in the tournament after a slow-start to the tournament.
An off-inning against New Level College Prep that plated four runs in the fifth-inning had spelt doom Friday in the tournament opener in Chandler. West Albany’s Chase Reynolds struck out four in two innings during the short-start for the Bulldog pitcher.
But pitching settled in as their bats rallied with victories of 4-2 and 6-3 to close out pool play over GBG Swoosh and Bulldog Elite.
“After game 1 we got the bats rolling. Some of the best hits we had just happened to go right at the defense. But we all hit really well,” Kleinschmit said. “We got the bats working after the first game and our defense played amazing. We got our mistakes out in the first game. We played really good considering we haven’t played in a few months.”
Kleinschmit, who went 5-for-9 with 3RBI’s and struck out three in an inning of work, also pointed to how strong their pitching was.
West Salem’s Brody McMullen followed in Game 2 with five innings on the bump and eight strikeouts on Saturday. Sunday saw Sprague’s Brett Hassoun go five innings with nine strikeouts with a three hitter, South Salem’s Tyler Minney closed the game striking out one after pitching two innings Friday.
“Pitching was solid all weekend. Brody was able to pound the zone and pitched well. (McNary’s) Logan (Ready) was able to do the same thing today. We were able to fall back on our pitching all weekend and it was the backbone to our success this weekend,” Hassoun said.
“Our pitchers threw a lot of strikes which helped us win. We played together as a team which is what led us to our wins,” adds Kleinschmit.
Ready got the start in the third-place game, going four innings with three strikeouts to go with his two-hitter. Hassoun went 3-for-9 with 2RBI’s hitting as well to go with his pitching performance as they wrapped up the weekend.
“It was great to be able to come down and compete against some great competition in great weather. We had a fun weekend and we played very well. We were able to throw and hit the ball well all weekend. We competed well and were able to go 3-1,” Hassoun said.
Salisbury was 4-for-11 with 3RBI’s. Salem Academy’s Brandon Reed drove in 4RBI’s and Silverton’s Drew Kaatz drove in 3RBI’s for Valley this past weekend.