Both teams came into the game with 4-0 district records, but by the end of Tuesday night’s game it was the Mustangs who emerged victorious, narrowly defeating the Owls 2-1.
With the win, Walker Valley remains undefeated in District 5-AAA play and sits tied with Bradley Central at 5-0.
Kamren Barnes once again came through for Walker Valley in a big way from the mound, and was able to slow the normally heavy-hitting Ooltewah bats.
“I was proud of Kamren, he came out and did a really good job. It felt like he kept them off balance all night and was pitching ahead in the count,” Mustang head coach Joe Shamblin said.
Of Barnes’ 106 pitches, 77 went for strikes. The junior pitcher had eight strikeouts for the evening.
The first two innings set the tone for the game, as both teams were unable to get any runs.
After holding the Owls scoreless in their third at bat, the Mustangs were able to register their only two runs.
A single to center field by Logan Melton got things started. Caleb Longley followed with a hit to right field, which advanced Melton to third and Longley to second.
A wild pitch while Barnes was at bat gave Melton the chance to give Walker Valley its first run. Longley was able to get run number two for the Mustangs following a deep hit to center field by Barnes.
The Owls were able to quickly end the inning for the Navy-and-Gold after picking off courtesy runner Austin Scott at second base and striking out the next two batters.
Ooltewah’s lone run came in the fifth inning. A sacrifice bunt advanced a runner to second, and a hit to center field was able to get the runner all the way home.
Owls pitcher Zach Thompson was able to post a total of 12 strikeouts, while 63 out of his 99 pitches were strikes.
“We still didn’t hit the ball like I thought we should,” Shamblin admitted. “We had too many strikeouts, but we had seven hits and hung on.”
The remainder of the game proved to be a showdown between both schools’ pitchers and defense, as neither team was able to add another run.
A quick throw to second base by Walker Valley catcher Josh Poole on an attempted Ooltewah steal in the seventh nailed a would-be base thief and helped solidify the Mustangs’ win.
“When you get a pitching performance like that and you play a good defensive game as well, things usually work in your favor,” Shamblin stated.
At the end of the game, the scoreboard served as proof of the evenly matched play by both teams, as the Owls and Mustangs each had seven hits and no errors.
The Mustangs hope to keep their district record intact as they travel to Ooltewah tonight.
“It was an exciting win but we’ve got to come back out and try to do it tomorrow,” Shamblin commented.
The game will begin at 7 p.m. in somewhat warmer temperatures.
Ooltewah 000 010 0 — 1 7 0
Walker Valley 002 000 x — 2 7 0
WP: Kamren Barnes (3-0) 7 IP, 8 Ks, 1 BB, 7 hits; LP: Zach Thompson (0-1) 6 IP, 12 Ks, 2 BB, 7 hits; 2B: Barnes, Josh Pool; Highlights: Barnes 3-3, RBI; Logan Melton 1-3, run; Caleb Longley 1-3, run; Pool 1-2; John Simmons 1-3. Records: Walker Valley 8-3, 5-0 District 5-AAA; Ooltewah 4-1 District 5-AAA.