While he hadn’t reached base in his three previous plate appearances, Brody Ayers came up with the biggest hit of the game Friday in Anchorage, Alaska.
The middle infielder hit a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh to drive in Isaac Richardson for the game-winning run. The hit capped a four-run rally for Gallatin Valley, which stunned Marsh Valley (Idaho), 7-6, in a first round game at the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.
“There’s not very many games that Brody doesn’t have a hit, so he’s definitely one of the guys we love in that situation. He always seems to come up big,” Outlaws manager Duwayne Scott said. “He’s hit almost .500 with runners in scoring position for us all year long. He was definitely a guy that we wanted up at the plate in that situation.”
Gallatin Valley (56-21) advanced in the winner’s bracket and will play either Service (Alaska) or South (Alaska) in the second round at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Outlaws trailed 6-3 after Marsh Valley scored a run in the top of the seventh. But after Patrick Dietz reached base on a walk and Brandon Beedie on an error, Trevor Doud and Richardson each drove in a run on RBI singles to trim the deficit to one. Gallatin Valley tied the game on a wild pitch by James Bodily.
Despite the odds, Scott never doubted his team still had a chance to win.
“That’s the thing about this group is they don’t ever give up,” he said. “The talk in the dugout when they came in was, ‘You know what? One hit at a time, one at-bat, and see what happens.’ And I thought our guys just did a good job of battling. Took some good pitches and were able to come up with some big hits.”
It was just the fourth loss of the season for Marsh Valley, which won its second consecutive state Class A championship to advance to regionals. The Eagles (36-4) scored two runs in the first and two in the third for a 4-0 lead.
Mayson Shively started on the mound for Gallatin Valley, but had not thrown since the district tournament. The southpaw allowed eight hits and five runs, but Scott felt like he did enough to keep the Outlaws within striking distance.
“I thought he was a little rusty early and struggled with his command and then I thought he settled down and made some big pitches and kept us in the game,” Scott said. “He just battled through some tough times and was able to get us at least six (innings), and then Josh Majors came in and threw well in that seventh inning and kept us in the game so that we could come and make that comeback.”
Scott felt the team was a little sluggish to start the game following a five-hour flight to Anchorage, and then attending a tournament banquet before making a 30-minute drive to the hotel after arriving Thursday.
“Hopefully now we can get settled in and come out ready tomorrow from the first pitch on,” he said.
The Outlaws tallied nine hits led by Richardson, who was 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Brady Jones was 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Bodily led the Eagles with three hits, including a triple, while brothers Payton and Stanton Howe each had two.
Gallatin Valley 7, Marsh Valley 6
Marsh Valley 202 010 1 - 6 9 2
Gallatin Valley 003 000 4 - 7 9 2
Payton Howe, Stanton Howe (4), James Bodily (7) and Carter Howe. Mayson Shivley, Josh Majors (7) and Brandon Beedie.
MARSH VALLEY (36-4) - Bodily 3-4 (3B), S. Howell 2-2, Karter Howe 0-1, Payton Howe 2-3, Braxton Foster 1-4, Dylan Driessen 1-3, Alex Vaughan 0-3, Jason Jones 0-3, Daxton Woodmancy 0-3.
GALLATIN VALLEY (56-21) - Brady Jones 2-4, Isasc Richardson 3-4, Cyrus Richardson 0-3, Brody Ayers 1-4, Bo Hays 0-3, Josh Wisecarver 1-3, Patrick Dietz 1-2, Brandon Beedie 0-3, Trevor Doud 1-3, Logan Vasarella 0-0.