Valley uses walk-off single to edge Kittanning
Each time Kittanning baseball put a run on the board, Valley had an answer.
Jordan Iellimo hit a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh after Kittanning had tied the game in the top half of the inning, which gave Valley a Section 5-AAA win over Kittanning, 5-4, on Wednesday.
Iellimo's drive into left-center field allowed Michael McNabb, who began the rally by drawing a walk, to score the winning run from second base for Valley (3-8, 2-4).
Kittanning (2-8, 0-6) tied the game in the top half of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Nash Matson that scored Christian Miller, who led off by reaching base on an error.
“We needed it because we haven't put a whole game together,” Valley coach Jim Perry said.
“The main thing I'm excited about is that we didn't quit. We've only got two seniors out there, but we didn't quit.”
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on a RBI single by Miller and an Valley error off the bat of Matson that allowed Liam Doms to score.
Valley came back in the third with three runs of its own. Jordan Frame hit a sacrifice fly, and Parker Shearon hit an RBI single to tie the game before eventually coming around to score on a wild pitch for a 3-2 lead.
Kittanning tied the score 3-3 on an RBI single by Donovan Wichowski in the top of the fifth.
But just as it would in the seventh, Valley retook the lead in the bottom half, this time on a base hit by Jeremy Iellimo.
“It was just one of those days where we had a couple unlucky things, a couple bounces that didn't go our way,” Kittanning coach John Davis said. “The kids battled back to tie it up a couple times, and I'm proud of the fact we were able to do that. We just can't get over the hump yet, but we'll keep battling.”
Both teams got a strong complete-game pitching performance from an underclassman starter.
Frame, a sophomore, allowed six hits and two earned runs while going the distance for Valley. For Kittanning, freshman Andy Fennell struck out six in 6 2⁄3 innings, and only three of his five runs allowed were earned.
“(Frame) is a 10th-grader who competes every time he's out there. He gets that look in his eye, and I was sticking with him the whole way,” Perry said.
The loss keeps Kittanning winless in section play, but the Wildcats have been anything but pushovers. Two of their last four losses have come as the result of walk-off heroics by the home team, and the Wildcats play three of their final four section games at home.
“We are seeing some improvement, and that's two games now in the last week or so that we've lost in the seventh. If a few things went our way, we could have two (section) wins right now,” Davis said. “I've seen some development from some young kids, especially pitching, and we're going to keep battling to get better.”