Pedal Valves routs Kansas champ in American Legion Mid-South opener
NEW ORLEANS – After losing both games in the American Legion Mid-South Regional a year ago in Little Rock, Arkansas, defending Louisiana state champion Pedal Valves was determined to get off to a good start at home in the 2017 event.
The Cardinals did so emphatically, routing the Ottawa (Kansas) Arrows 13-1 in a game shortened to seven innings by the 10-run rule at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
Justin Ory had three hits and drove in three runs while Zach Roussel allowed just one run on four hits, walking just one and striking out three while using just 65 pitches in 6 1/3 innings to pace the Cardinals to victory.
“I just kind of pounded the zone and let them make all the plays,” Roussel said. “I didn’t have too many strikeouts. They swung at a lot of first pitches. It was nice to get runs early. It gave me more confidence.”
The performance left Pedal Valves head coach Danny Riehm smiling.
“It was a great start,” Riehm said. “After last year, we wanted to come out and score runs which was something we didn’t do a year ago. We were able to do that with a big second inning which allowed us to really settle in. Zach did an outstanding job on the mound, throwing a ton of strikes. I think last year’s experience helped and it is nice to be at home.”
Pedal Valves put the petal to the metal early, taking advantage of wildness by Ottawa starter Trenton Ferguson to put the game away early.
Luke Lacoste lined the first pitch of the game for a single to center and advanced on a walk to Evan Keller. Lacoste moved to third on a wild pitch and stole a run when Keller broke for second, getting in a rundown. After five throws, Lacoste was able to steal home before a tag could be made to make it 1-0.
“We wanted to be aggressive early, to come out and grab the lead as fast as possible,” Riehm said. “That was definitely the plan, to come out playing fast.”
Pedal Valves broke it open in the top of the second inning, sending 14 batters to the plate. Ferguson hit three batters and walked two in an eight run inning.
Lacoste delivered a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 2-0, Keller walked to plate another run and it was 3-0.
Ory followed with the big blow, a base-clearing triple just out of the reach of diving centerfielder Jared Parenti to make it 6-0. Cyle Clayton delivered a two-run single to make it 8-0 when he was hit by a pitch to plate a run and Andrew Morrow completed the big inning with an RBI single to make it 9-0.
“I was thinking triple when I hit it and then saw him dive for it,” Ory said. “It was nice to get three hits in the game. It helped our pitching as well. We faced good competition to get here and it helped. If we keep playing this way, we have a chance to win the tournament.”
Ottawa (37-10) got on the board in the bottom of the second against Roussel on a leadoff double to left by Dalton Rankin, who advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a groundout by Brock Huddleston to make it 9-1.
The lead grew in the top of the fifth inning as Ory singled, Lyall Ball walked and both scored on a ringing double by Vicknair to make it 11-1. Cameron Guillot followed with an RBI single to right to make it 12-1.
Pedal Valves completed the scoring with a run in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Mickey Toscano. Brett Fisackerly got the final two outs for the Cardinals.
With the win, the Cardinals advance to the winner’s bracket Thursday afternoon to play Bryant, Arkansas, who defeated Columbia, Tennessee, 9-6.
“We played errorless baseball and got timely hits and we will need that tomorrow,” Riehm said. “Bryant is the Arkansas state champion. They defeated Texarkana in their tournament, the defending national champion. That says a lot about the team we are playing tomorrow. They are physical and athletic. We know it will be tough. It will be two heavyweights going at it.”
Ottawa faces an elimination game against Columbia Thursday morning.
PVC 180 030 1 — 13 12 0, 10 LOB
OKN 010 000 0 — 1 4 2, 3 LOB
Time of Game: 1:59
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