Redbank Valley starter Tate Minich tossed a four-hit, complete game shutout in the Bulldogs' 6-0 playoff-opening win over Moniteau
District 9 Class 2A baseball playoff top-seed Redbank Valley blew open a one-run game in the sixth by plating five runs in the stanza to defeat Moniteau 6-0 in a quarterfinal game at Union High School on Tuesday (May 23).
The Bulldogs, playing as the home team, went ahead 1-0 in the first and then nursed that lead through much of the game thanks to the arm of Tate Minich and some stellar defense behind him.
Minich pitched all seven innings in the shut-out, giving up four hits, walking two, and striking out six.
"(Minich) throws a lot of strikes, he was able to get his breaking ball across today," noted Bulldogs' manager Craig Hibell. "Moniteau definitely put some balls in play pretty hard, but our outfield played great. Anytime you can put up a zero in the play-offs, it's big. Guys can let the game come to them offensively. We played a complete game today."
Hibell also lauded his team's defensive effort.
"Our outfield is definitely a group of special athletes. We have a lot of confidence in those guys," Hibell said about the trio of Jaxon Huffman in right, Mason Clouse in left, and Owen Clouse in center, who made several big plays on balls hit deep and into the gaps.
"They're going to come up with the ball (hit) in the air because we know our guys can hustle it down. We know they can cover a lot of ground in a big outfield like this (at Union). (Moniteau) had some hard-hit balls that we thought were doubles that our outfielders were able to run down."
After giving up a run in the bottom of the first Redbank Valley's Tate Minich scoring on a triple off the bat of Tyler Hetrick Moniteau starting pitcher Brock Matthews settled down, scattering four hits through the next four innings and keeping the Bulldogs off the board.
A key defensive play came in the top of the fourth when Moniteau had two runners on with no outs.
The Warriors opened the inning with a hit by Keagan Book followed by a Brock Matthews walk. Dawson Cook came up next and tried to put down a sacrifice bunt up the first baseline. Cook popped the ball up and Minich came off the mound to make a diving grab. Minich jumped up and fired a strike to first base to double-off Matthews who had ventured too far toward second base.
The wheels came off for Moniteau with two outs in the sixth.
Redbank Valley's Ty Carrier singled off Matthews, who then walked Braylon Wagner and hit Huffman to load the bases.
With bases juice and needing only one out, Moniteau's manager brought Dawson Cook on in relief for the Warriors.
Peyton Rearick greeted Cook with a single up the middle, scoring Carrier, to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
Owen Clouse followed with another single, this one driving in Wagner and Huffman for a 4-0 Redbank Valley advantage. Rearick went to third Clouse's single
Tate Minich drew a walk, loading the bases for Breckin Minich. Breckin Minich hit the first pitch he saw into right, plating Rearick and Carson Gould, running for Tate Minich, putting the Bulldogs ahead, 6-0.
"We had some hard-hit balls that just didn't follow through (fall in). We also had some softly hit balls that did come through," Hibell commented on his team's day at the plate.
Owen Clouse (2-for-4), Carrier (2-for-3), and Rearick (2-for-3) had multi-hit games for Redbank Valley. Clouse drove in two and Rearick one.
Others recording hits for the Bulldogs were Tate Minich (1-for-3), Breckin Minich (1-for-4), Hetrick (1-for-4, triple), and Wagner (1-for-2). Breckin Minich had two RBI, with Hetrick knocking in one.
Owen Clouse and Tate Minich each stole a base.
Discussing Redbank Valley's play-off hopes, Hibell said, "We're making progress, but we still have to make sure to execute if we want to continue to stay in the playoffs. Whether it's Clarion-Limestone or Johnsonburg who we play (who were then playing to determine the Bulldogs' semifinal opponent), we're going to have to come and play a complete game."
Ultimately, Johnsonburg beat C-L, 4-3, and will play Redbank Valley today at Showers Field in DuBois (May 25).
Karns City will take on Port Allegany at Brockway today in the other 2A semifinal.
The 2A championship game is scheduled for Memorial Day (Monday, May 29) in DuBois.