Carrollton falls short in nail-biter against Indian Valley in district semifinal

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In a thrilling baseball showdown, the Carrollton Warriors clashed with the Indian Valley Braves, but it was the Braves who emerged victorious with a 5-4 win in the bottom of the seventh inning. The game was filled with intense moments that kept fans on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Carrollton got off to a strong start, taking an early lead in the top of the first inning when Jaxon Rinkes was batted in, giving the Warriors a 1-0 advantage. The momentum swung back and forth between the two teams throughout the game.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Carrollton loaded the bases with only one out and looked to add to their 1-0 lead. However, Indian Valley turned a remarkable double play to escape the jam unscathed and head to the bottom half of the inning.

The Braves struck back in the bottom of the fourth, capitalizing on their opportunities. A walk allowed them to tie the game 1-1, and shortly after, an Indian Valley double drove in two runs, granting the Braves a 3-1 lead.

Carrollton fought back in the top of the fifth when John Birong’s single kick-started a rally. With one out, Rinkes hammered a triple to deep center, bringing Birong home and narrowing the gap to 3-2.

Carrollton’s resilience was put to the test in the bottom of the fifth as Indian Valley loaded the bases once again. However, the Warriors managed to escape the tight spot, thanks to some clutch plays, leaving the Braves frustrated and unable to capitalize on their scoring opportunities.

Heading into the sixth inning, Indian Valley still held a slim 3-2 lead. Carrollton’s Landon James led off with a double. Despite James’ efforts, Carrollton couldn’t bring him home to score, leaving them trailing by a single run.

As the game entered the seventh inning, Carrollton’s Cooper Haun was patient in the box and drew a lead-off walk, giving the Warriors hope. Unfortunately, Rinkes’ subsequent bunt groundout brought them no closer to a tie. However, Carrollton’s fortunes seemed to change when Rininger singled, advancing pinch-runner Tyler Baughman, who entered the game for Haun, to third. Landon James stepped up to the plate and delivered a crucial double, bringing both Rininger and Baughman home, flipping the score to 4-3 in favor of Carrollton with two outs.

With their backs against the wall, Indian Valley refused to go down without a fight. In the bottom of the seventh, they managed to get runners on first and third with two outs.

Carrollton held a narrow lead, but a costly error between the second and first basemen allowed the tying run to score, leveling the playing field at 4-4. The game’s heartbreaking finish came when Carrollton’s pitcher, Isiah McConnell, was called for a balk, allowing the Indian Valley runner on third to advance home and secure a dramatic 5-4 victory for the Braves in walkoff fashion.

Indian Valley advanced to the district final on Wednesday, May 24. They will take on Cambridge at the neutral site of Ridgewood.