SYRACUSE — The Valentine Post 90 Senior Legion baseball team was playing in a state tournament for the first time in the history of the program.
Post 90 had trouble figuring out Bruning-Davenport Shickley starting pitcher John Christensen as Valentine fell to BDS 5-1 in the first round of the 2019 Senior American Legion baseball tournament.
“This was our first trip to state, but we weren’t just going through the motions of getting here — we wanted to compete,” Post 90 skipper, Kent Lopez.
Lopez has been around for the past 42 years of Valentine Legion baseball so he’s well aware of how this opportunity to play in the state may not come around again for quite some time.
“I told the guys since we qualified we could compete down here,” Lopez said. “We made an error early which took a little momentum from us and cost us a couple of runs.”
In addition, Christensen was hitting on all cylinders on the mound for BDS.
In fact, Christensen allowed a single hit, a slap up the middle by Valentine’s Tagg Buechle, in his six innings of work.
He also allowed no runs and struck out nine.
Buechle’s hit came in the bottom of the fourth and BDS was on top 3-0.
“The kids only pitched 57 pitches,” Lopez said. “I’m not really good at math but I’ll tell that isn’t very many pitches.”
Post 90 wasted very solid pitching performance from Turner Tinant, who left after six-and-one-third innings due the 105-pitch count limit.
Tinant allowed only two earned runs in the seven-inning contest and struck out five BDS batters.
“He definitely pitched more than well enough to win, we just couldn’t hit the ball,” Lopez said. “We’ve seen pitchers like Christensen before but he was dead-on today.”
Christensen helped himself at the plate with back-to-back doubles in first and third innings and had a couple of RBI’s.
Valentine got life after Christensen left at the end of the sixth.
Brysen Limbach opened the seventh with a single and was pushed to second by another single from Buechle.
Turner rifled a ground ball back to the box, but Peyton Dubbert, who replaced Christensen stabbed the ball and forced Limbach at third.
Drew McIntosh drew a walk from Dubbert before a wild pitch advanced Buechle and Tinant to second and third.
Brayden Fowler flew out to deep centerfield chasing Buechle home for the lone Post 90 run.
Valentine will play the loser of a game between Hartington and Strombsberg-Osceola-Shelby.
Post 90 will have first pitch at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday here at Veterans Field.
BDS 201 002 0 — 5 7 0
VAL 000 000 1 — 1 3 3
WP: John Christensen LP: Turner Tinant
2B: Christensen (2); Peyton Dubbert.