by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley baseball team came up with a new motto recently.
“Boiling point. It’s 212 degrees, not 211. We need to turn it up to 212,” Grain Valley senior Trent Melton said.
Well, the Eagles turned up the heat, especially in the seventh inning against Suburban White Conference rival William Chirsman Friday on the road.
Going into the final frame with a 2-1 lead, the Grain Valley offense exploded for six runs en route to a 8-1 victory.
“Water boils at 212 (degrees) and it’s just simmering heat at 211,” Grain Valley head coach Brian Driskell said. “We talked about turning it up a notch for everyone.”
It was another good offensive game for the Eagles (10-12) as they just scored 16 runs in a win against Raytown earlier in the week.
In the top of the seventh inning. They had runners at second and third with two outs. Senior shortstop Avery Garmon hit a ground ball to first baseman Joseph Cole. The ball took a bad hop and he was unable to corral it as two runs scored on the play.
That opened up the floodgates for the Eagles as they got four consecutive hits against relief pitcher Vincent Chavez. Junior catcher Brody Baker drilled an RBI double in the right-center field gap; and Ian Kamstra, Brek Sloan and Max Snyder all followed with run-scoring singles for a six-run inning.
Leading up to the final frame, Sloan accounted for all three hits for the Eagles. After Chrisman took a 1-0 lead following the first inning, he lined a triple into right field as Caleb Playter misplayed the ball and it got past him and allowed the Eagles junior to reach third base. A run scored knotted the game at 1-all in the fourth inning.
Sloan then got his third hit against Chrisman starter Cooper Hudson in the sixth inning. He lined a two-out, run-scoring single to center field to score senior center fielder Jace Weems from third base to give Grain Valley a 2-1 lead going into the final frame. Weems reached on an infield error by the Bears to begin the inning as he later crossed home.
Sloan had familiarity with Cooper from their time playing baseball together in the summer. That helped him with his big day as he went 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs.
“I connected with the ball very well,” Sloan said. “I caught and hit Cooper in summer ball. I was more familiar with him and I knew his tendencies and his pitches. It helped me out in the long run catching him in the summer.”
Driskell noted that Sloan has swung a hot bat lately.
“He would be the first to tell you that he hasn’t swung the bat like he has wanted to this year,” Driskell said. “I think lately he’s done a really nice job.”
Meanwhile, three Grain Valley pitchers combined to just give up one run on six hits. Senior right hander Trent Melton picked up the win in relief as he tossed four scoreless innings and gave up three hits, walked one and struck out three.
Melton said he struggled at first, but got used to pitching with strong winds.
“At the start, I was having command issues,” Melton said. “The wind was blowing and made my fastball more like a cutter. I got a little more velocity on my fastball later and got it through there.”
Grain Valley junior Break Sloan was 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs.
Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley senior Trent Melton tossed four scoreless innings and allowed just three hits and struck out three batters during a 8-1 win over William Chrisman Friday on the road.
Photo credit: Michael Smith