Baseball

BENTON -- Valley View broke open a 1-1 deadlock with three runs in the sixth and four in the final seventh inning, beating Magnolia 8-1 Saturday for the Arkansas Class 4A Baseball Championship.

Brayden Anderson was the winning pitcher for the Blazers and was the game’s Most Valuable Player. Seth Edwards took the loss for the Panthers.

Magnolia, the Class 4A-8 and South Region champion, finished the season 20-6. Valley View is 29-9.

The game was scoreless through three innings, thanks mostly to Magnolia getting out of a jam in the second inning. Valley View’s Carter Saulsbury walked and appeared to steal second as the ball went into the ground after Kannon Jones attempted a bunt. Magnolia catcher Dalen Blanchard’s throw to second wasn’t in time, but Jones was called for interference and he was called out with Saulsbury. Anderson popped out to Eli Fields.

Magnolia’s Zander Taylor reached first in the Panthers second on an error by Valley View’s third baseman – Taylor made it to first three times on Blazer errors. But the Panthers couldn’t capitalize and Taylor was stranded.

The Panthers defense was effective in the third after Edwards struck out Ryan Collins. Edwards walked Jackson Stotts but Blanchard caught a Will French foul and threw Stotts out at second.

In the Magnolia third, Jayson Thomas dinged third base with a hit that went fair. Tanner Edwards advanced Thomas to second on bunt sacrifice. Fields hit a chopper and was out at first but Thomas got to third base. Blanchard popped out to end Magnolia’s scoring threat.

Valley View’s Slade Caldwell drew a walk and stole second and third. He scored the first run of the game by stealing home as Tyler Hoskins popped out.

In the Magnolia fourth, Tanner Nielsen was thrown out at first. Hunter Buford walked and Zander Taylor reached first on an error by Valley View’s shortstop. Cade Browning hit into a double play as Magnolia stranded two.

Magnolia got on the scoreboard in the fifth. Seth Edwards flied out. Jayson Thomas got to first on a single up the left field gap. Thomas advanced on a wild pitch. Tanner Edwards scored Thomas on a double to the left field wall.

But Valley View dominated the sixth and seventh innings, scoring seven runs.

The Blazers French hit a stand-up triple to center field. Grayson Becker was hit by a pitch and went to second on a steal. French scored on Hoskins’ sacrifice fly. Becker scored on Caldwell’s infield hit. Caldwell came home on a Magnolia error. Valley View led 4-1 after six innings.

In the seven, Seth Edwards struck out Kannon Jones, but Brayden Anderson got a base hit and Ryan Collins was struck by an Edwards pitch. Magnolia Coach Bobby Beeson set Tanner Nielsen in to pitch, but Valley View loaded the bases and scored four more runs in quick succession.

Anderson retired Magnolia’s final three batters in order for the Valley View win.

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