Green, big innings lift HVA baseball to victory

HARDIN VALLEY — Ryder Green did a little bit of everything for the Hardin Valley Academy baseball team in a 10-1 District 4-AAA victory over Heritage on Wednesday, April 27.

Green started on the mound and hurled six innings. He surrendered just one earned run, four hits and two walks. He had three strikeouts despite having to labor a bit over the first two innings.

He also carried a big bat for the Hawks. Green went 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs batted in and a stolen base. He also scored twice.

Green’s two-run shot in the bottom of the third inning started a one-out rally in the bottom of the third inning, a frame in which the Hawks scored five runs.

“It was a curve ball and he [Heritage starting pitcher Jordan Davis] hung it a little bit and I was able to get it and hit it over the fence,” Green said.

HVA catcher Landen Beyer started the rally with a one-out single before giving way to courtesy runner Austin Johnson. Johnson scored on Green’s homer. Tyler Thompson and Drew Parks both walked and scored in the frame. Thompson scored on a single by Mason McCroskey and Parks came home on a wild pitch. Cam Fisher doubled and he would score HVA’s fifth run of the inning when right fielder Dawson Byard singled to make the score 5-0.

The Mountaineers (13-13, 6-8) pulled to within 5-1 in the top of the fourth. Kyle Valentine singled. He would eventually cross the plate when Heritage third baseman Shane Weakley reached on an error.

Hardin Valley coach Joe Michalski said that he felt fortunate to see his team pick up a key league victory.

“Ryder did a great job against Heritage,” Michalski said. “They have some hitters who are absolutely scary and [coach] Robbie [Bennett] does such a great job.

“They’re a really good team and this was a big win for us.”

The Mountaineers squandered scoring chances in each of the first three innings. Heritage stranded two runners in the first as leadoff hitter Jared McDonald reached on an error and advanced to second when Daniel Price singled with one out. In the second, Valentine walked but was stranded at third at inning’s end. McDonald had a leadoff double in the third but was left on third when Green got out of that jam.

“I thought I threw pretty well,” Green said. “I had a couple of walks early and I had to get out of a couple of jams.”

After surrendering an unearned run in the fourth, Green retired the last nine Mountaineers he faced before giving way to Drew Parks, who pitched a scoreless seventh.

Davis left after five innings with his team trailing 5-1. Heritage had to use three pitchers in the sixth as Tate Phillips, Nick Walker and Tate Roberts combined to give up five runs in the frame.

Beyer had an RBI double off Phillips. Ian Cox led off the inning with a single and scored on a wild pitch. Dylan Harris singled and scored while Thompson, Parks and McCroskey all had RBI singles in the inning, which ended on a double play.

Michalski said his team came to the ballpark with something to prove after losing to Maryville 24 hours earlier.

“The timing was probably bad for Heritage,” he said. “We didn’t play well [against Maryville] and we usually play well after a loss.

“Today, our kids responded well.”

Byard agreed.

“We concentrate on not dwelling on the past,” he said. “None of these teams are easy to beat. We’re taking a big win out of here today.”

For Bennett, the story was an all too familiar narrative.

“We had a couple of bad innings and that’s been the story of our season in games that we’ve lost and even in some games that we’ve won,” he said. “We’ve got to get ready for the district tournament. Anything can happen when you get there.”