First win a relief for VCA

By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Finally putting a game in the win column brought welcome relief for Valley Christian baseball coach Brad Gunter. After losing their first four games of the season, the two-time defending section Division VII champions beat Grant 4-1 on the road Thursday. The Lions tallied single runs in the first, fourth and fifth frames to build a 3-0 lead behind freshman pitcher Jimmy Shaw, and he made it stand up with some help from the bullpen. "Congratulations to our lefthanded freshman pitcher, Jimmy Shaw," Gunter said. "It was his first varsity start and to come out and pound the strike zone and force the action was very impressive. He also had a hit on the day to top things off." After the Pacers got one back in the home half of the fifth, VCA added a run in the seventh to set the final margin. The Lions made the most of their seven hits and survived four errors in the process, largely because they limited Grant from cashing in. The Pacers managed just three hits in the contest. "It was a much better brand of baseball against Grant," Gunter said. "All three pitchers worked ahead in the count and errors today were not costly because our pitchers got right back on the mound and pounded the strike zone." Shaw allowed those three hits in his five innings on the bump, and he also struck out three, but he did't issue a single free pass. In fact, with Matt Meeink and Ryan Cordell each setting the side down in order in one inning, Valley Christian did not walk anyone in the entire game. Both Meeink and Cordell struck out two of three batters they faced. Paul Finnell hit a solo home run in the fifth and Donovan Allen had a double to lead the VCA offense, while Cordell drove in a pair of runs. The team is on its way to Eureka for a Saturday date with St. Bernard, the top team in Division V three of the last four seasons. Following that contest, the Lions will participate in the SureWest-Woodcreek Invitational with a pair of games on Monday.