Pedal Valves stays unbeaten in American Legion regional

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The Pedal Valves Cardinals used a pair of big innings to defeat West Tampa, Florida, 10-3 in a winner’s bracket game of the American Legion Southeast Regional Friday morning in Tampa.

The Cardinals are 2-0 in tournament play and face the other remaining unbeaten team, Tupelo, Mississippi, in the driver’s seat game at approximately 4 p.m. Friday. The winner of the Pedal Valves-Tupelo game is assured of a berth in the championship.

Pedal Valves scored six runs in the bottom of the second to take a commanding 6-1 lead, then put things away with four more runs in the bottom of the fifth to back the complete-game pitching of Joshua MacCord, who scattered four hits.

“It was a chance for us to finally settle in and enjoy a game, and play our brand of baseball,” said Pedal Valves coach Danny Riehm, whose team never led in its opening win over Troy, Alabama, until the final pitch. “(The lead) gave a lot of confidence to our players.”

The second-inning uprising came with two outs. Kolby McWilliams’ single drove in Stephen Klein to tie the game at 1-1. After Kolby Bourgeois scored on a wild pitch and Avery Schexnaydre walked, the Cardinals strung together three consecutive RBI hits – a T.J. Thomas double, a single by Gavin Freeman and a two-run double by Nick Lorio to cap the inning.

Jorge Carrero’s two-run homer pulled West Tampa to within 6-3 in the top of the fourth before Pedal Valves put it away an inning later.

Lorio led off with a triple before the Cardinals took advantage of some West Tampa wildness. A walk and two hit batters plated a run and a groundout pushed home a second run. McWilliams capped things with a two-run single.

MacCord handled the rest from there, retiring West Tampa over the final two innings.

“MacCord gave us a great start,” Riehm said. “He did what he’s done for us all summer. For him to go seven innings and keep a lot of arms from having to enter the game … is huge.”

The Cardinals and Tupelo were both in the Louisiana Challenge tournament in Gonzales in late June, but the teams did not meet.

“We expect to have our hands full,” Riehm said. “They had a nice win against a really talented Tallahassee (Florida) team.”

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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