After hard-to-digest baseball losses to Scott and Van earlier last week, the Valley Greyhounds were in need of a pick-me-up.

It came in the form of a 9-4 triumph over Fayette County foe Fayetteville Wednesday.

“Monday against Scott (a 9-8 setback), we lulled through the first six innings, then came alive in the seventh but it was too late. Against Van, we settled down (after giving the Bulldogs three runs in the first inning),” said Valley coach Joe Craffey. “We hit the ball a little better tonight, especially with runners on.

“That’s been our downfall the last couple of games.”

The Greyhounds plated four runs with two outs in the second inning to move into the driver’s seat following a scoreless first inning for both squads. Andrew Johnson was plunked by FHS pitcher Brandon Fox, advanced to second on a bunt by teammate Dillon Ganoe and to third on a throwing error on the same play, then raced home on an infield single by lead-off hitter Cameron Belmont. The Greyhounds plated another run when Fayetteville third baseman Jon Paul Blankenship let a grounder get by him, scoring Ganoe. Finally, Josh Thompson laced a two-bagger to left to score Belmont and his brother, Austin, to make it 4-0.

“We got a little bit of a lead and it gave the guys a little confidence,” said Craffey, whose team improved to 7-3.

Fayetteville assistant coach Jonathan Parsons, filling in for absent head coach Richard Spearen, said the Pirates — with five errors — were too helpful to the Valley cause.

“We had a lot of mental mistakes,” said Parsons. “And we made contact with the ball, but we weren’t hitting it anywhere in the holes.

“Hopefully we’ll get together and start coming around by sectional time.”

Cameron Belmont finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs for Valley, including a lead-off solo homer in the bottom of the sixth that greeted Pirate reliever Alex Preast that accounted for the final margin. Ganoe was 2-for-2, which included a fifth-inning double that brought home courtesy runner Marcus Wilson and pinch runner Nick Accord, who were running for catcher Tyler Sears (reached on a single) and Johnson (error), respectively.

For the Pirates (5-6), Blankenship was 2-for-2 with a third-inning double to the gap in left center that scored Dylan Young (walk) and K.C. Dempsey (single), Nich Carte’s grounder in the fifth scored Troy Hopkins, and Drew Weis launched a solo homer over the center field fence in the top of the sixth that trimmed the deficit to 8-4.

Immediately following Weis’ shot, Fox rapped a single, but Valley pitcher Robert VanMeter prevented any further damage by fanning Ryan Elkins and getting Vernon Farrell to fly out.

On the afternoon, the Greyhound junior went the distance, striking out seven and walking one while scattering five hits.

“Robert threw a good game,” said Craffey. “When he hits his spots, he can do real well.

“He’s one of those guys who feeds off what the guys behind him do. He has the tendency that, if we’re not playing well behind him, he gets down on himself.”

In other recent games:

Valley 10, Man 5

The Greyhounds improved to 9-4 Monday by doubling up the Hillbillies.

Josh Thompson went the distance on the mound, striking out eight and walking two. Thompson also helped at the plate, going 2-for-3 and driving in a run.

Cameron Belmont led the offensive attack with two hits, including a triple, in three at-bats. Belmont knocked in three runs. Also, Jonathan Taylor had a double and two RBIs, and James Newkirk, Kevin Talerico and Dillon Ganoe each produced one RBI.

Valley trailed 2-0 after two innings, but a seven-run uprising in the third — keyed by Belmont’s triple — gave the ‘Hounds some cushion.

Coach Joe Craffey said Thompson “settled down” on the mound after allowing back-to-back homers in the early stages.

Valley played Charleston Catholic yesterday. The ‘Hounds visit Sissonville Thursday and Midland Trail Friday.

Poca 5, Valley 2

Josh Thompson and Cameron Belmont each drove in a run for Valley, and Jonathan Taylor was 2-for-3.

Pitcher Dillon Ganoe yielded just five hits in seven innings, but he was victimized by a two-run homer and a solo shot.

VHS stranded seven base runners.

Valley 7, Clay 4

The Greyhounds, coach Joe Craffey said, finally gave pitcher James Newkirk some support in the Thursday win over the Panthers.

“He’s had a rough three years,” said Craffey. “It seems like whenever he’s pitched, we can’t back him up.

“Against Clay, we played good defense behind him, made no errors and made the routine plays.”

Newkirk walked two and struck out five. He was also 2-for-3 at the plate.

Also for the Valley offense, Jonathan Taylor had a homer and a pair of RBIs, Josh Thompson was 2-for-4 with a two-bagger and two RBIs, Tyler Sears was 2-for-4 and drove in a run, and Austin Belmont was 2-for-3.

Independence 15, Oak Hill 5

Justin Chandler hit a grand slam and had six RBIs as Independence downed previously undefeated Oak Hill in six innings Thursday.

Richard Hampton went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs for Independence (7-4), which banged out 16 hits against two Oak Hill pitchers.

Rob Stephens was 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for Oak Hill (15-1), which was outhit 16-9. Frankie McGraw homered, and Aaron McComas (double), Chris Chapman and Brent Brash drove in one run apiece.

The Patriots broke away from a 5-3 Oak Hill lead with 12 runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Charleston Catholic 4, Fayetteville 3

Charleston Catholic’s Sam Wood had two hits, including a double and an RBI, in four at-bats in a win over host Fayetteville Thursday.

Also for Catholic, Will Pack was 2-for-3 and scored a run, and Prudnick had a double and an RBI.

Alex Preast had two doubles and an RBI in two at-bats for the Pirates (5-7). Ryan Elkins, Troy Hopkins and Jon Paul Blankenship were each 1-for-3.

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