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40-minute rain delay hurts Valley Catholic

Sloppy play in the field and an inability to deal with sloppy weather on the field combined to end Valley Catholic High’s season Friday night.

Facing Pleasant Hill High in a game that was scheduled to be played at Valley Catholic and was rescheduled at Jesuit High, the Valiants endured a 40-minute plus rain delay, allowed three unearned runs and fell 6-0 in the Oregon Schools and Activities Association Class 3A quarterfinals.

The Billies tacked on a cheap run in the first inning when Garrett Davis scored from second when Valley Catholic tried to turn a double play and threw the ball past first base.

“We made a couple miscues in the field,” Valley Catholic coach Pat Thomas said. “But mostly they did a heckuva job at the plate being tough outs.”by: COURTESY PHOTO: BARBARA KERR  - Valley Catholic pitcher Carter Buuck delivers a pitch against Pleasant Hill in the 3A state playoffs

The game stayed 1-0 for the next five innings. Valiants pitcher Carter Buuck got himself into some tight scrapes like loading the bases with no outs in the second inning, but always managed to get out of whatever jam he faced.

“Any ball they put in play my defense was right behind me to make a play and when I had the chance to strike them out I was on top of my stuff and could handle it myself,” Buuck said.

Pleasant Hill pitcher Jackson Bertsch matched Buuck throughout the game. Bertsch had all of his pitches working, he located, kept the Valiants off balance and made it just about impossible for Valley Catholic to generate any momentum at the plate.

“They were throwing a helluva pitcher,” Thomas said. “He’s a stud. We’ve seen some really good pitchers, but he was probably the best we’ve seen all year. He threw the ball really, really well. He pounded the outside corner with his fastball, pounded the outside corner with his slider, throws hard.”

In the top of the sixth, Buuck gave up a leadoff single to left. Then, as the rain which had been threatening to fall all day began coming down, he hit a Billies batter in the back with a pitch. The umpires then suspended play until the rain cleared. The rain poured for the next 40 plus minutes as the team waited for play to resume.

When the game began again, Buuck had lost something. He was no longer as sharp, nor as precise with his pitches.

The first batter Buuck faced when play resumed bunted down the first base line. Valley Catholic’s first baseman tried to throw the runner out at first, but overthrew the bag and a run came around to score, making the game 2-0.

After Valley Catholic threw a runner out at the plate on a wild pitch for the second out of the inning, the Valiants, Buuck walked a batter to load the bases. Buuck struck out the next batter, though, and the inning ended.

The following inning Pleasant Hill was able to pour on the runs and make the game look like far more of a blowout than it had really been.

After a leadoff walk, Buuck allowed Bertsch to triple to right field to make the score 3-0. Parker Smith singled to centerfield and while he was thrown out trying to take second base, Bertsch was able to score to make the game 4-0. The Billies would get two more runs before Buuck was finally relieved by Carlos Catibayan who got the first batter he faced out and ended the inning.

In 6 2/3 innings of work, Buck allowed 10 hits, six runs, three earned and wound up getting the loss.

“We played in the exact same weather against Dayton on Wednesday,” Buuck said, “but when you take a half an hour break it’s always going to be a little difficult.”

Valley Catholic went 1-2-3 in their half of the seventh inning and the season was over for the Valiants. Despite his disappointment with how the final game played out, Thomas said that he was extremely proud of the season that his team had.

“It hurts right now,” Thomas said. “It’s hard to really reflect on the season right now. But, this is tied for the most successful season we’ve ever had. We went to the state finals once and we’ve gotten to this round twice now. It’s only the third time in school history we’ve gotten 20 or more wins. It was our first Lewis and Clark League Championship. We won a state game for the first time in a couple of years.

“It hurts right now, but it was a heckuva season. I love the kids, I love this team, I love coaching this team and I couldn’t be happier with the way they competed and battled and fought. You come to the final eight and lose to a great team, that’s how it goes.”

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