CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Catholic Ben Nardi has admitted he didn’t face as many pitchers as leftist Trent Valentine of Marietta College.
Valentine was at the peak of his game in Friday’s World Series III opening match. division and led the Pioneers to a 7-0 victory over the Catholics at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“We haven’t really seen a lot of leftists with such a big sink all year,” said Nardi, who had one of only four hits by the Cardinals outside of Valentine.
Senior Southpaw gave a dominant performance on the biggest D3 stage, throwing eight shutouts to set the tone for the rest of the tournament.
“Trent was obviously exceptional on the hill,” said Marietta head coach Brian Brewer, who is trying to steer the program towards the seventh national title. “You’re only as good as that guy and Trent is the story of the day, for sure.”
Valentine, the second All-American team, improved their record to 14-1. He was Marietta’s No. 1 starter all year and proved why on Friday.
“Contact suggestion” was the key, Valentine said. “They almost got bad swings. I’m just trying to control what I can. I’m trying to stay locked up on the next pitch and get out what I need. “
Valentine upset the Cardinals and eliminated eight shots in just two walks. He worked fast and controlled the pace of the game.
“It’s exciting to play defense behind him,” said Marietta midfielder Trent Castle, who tripled and rode in two races. “As long as he continues to trade and is in the zone, we have a good day.”
Drew Holderbach, Logan Vietmeier and Drew Wilkinson all had RBI doubles. Holderbach, Castle and Zach Boyd had two hits for the Pioneers, who scored three points in the third, one in the fourth and another three in the fifth. It was more than enough pillow for Valentine’s Day.
“The ball jumped out of his hand today,” Holderbach said. “He worked fast, he threw a lot of punches, and that’s what keeps the defense in it. It was amazing that he threw punches and commanded the zone. “
Having your beginner pitcher in the opening match of the tournament with eight teams for eight innings is largely a coach’s dream.
“If Trent can give us seven, eight shifts and keep the number below 100 throws – ideally 85 to 92 throws – whether it’s punches, knocks or dropouts, they’re out.” Brewer said. “That’s really what we’re looking for.”
But Brewer had to be persuaded by pitcher coach Mike Mulvey to send Valentin back to eighth inning. Valentine rewarded his coaches by bypassing a few hits to throw another scoreless frame.
“I was ready to take him out at seven,” Brewer said. “Mike persuaded me to leave him there. His number was not really that high. In the fifth or sixth he was a little higher than we would like, but then in the seventh and eighth, especially in the seventh, he was really good. “
Brewer wanted to bring in the first all-American reliever, Sam Mathews, which he succeeded in ninth. Mathews played a clean 1-2-3 with a strike.
“It’s been a Mathews race for us all year,” Brewer said. “The sooner we get the ball into his hands, the happier we will be. Coach Mulvey spoke to me (he pulled Valentin out) and we let him run there (at eight). He did exactly what he needed to do, tossed in order to contact in early numbers. “
From the point of view of the cardinals “(Valentine) had a lot of sink on his ball,” Nardi said. “He was hard fast, but I think his diver had a lot of draws and it came back to him a lot.” He often missed the spots. He threw exactly into (Vietmeier’s) gloves. He was quite consistent throughout the match. Getting ahead, staying ahead, keeping us all in balance. ”
Added Catholic acronym Tighe Watson, “I saw mostly fast balls. He did a very good job and stayed consistent all day. He never really lost his temper.”
Jack Zaffiro (3-3) lost after three innings. He allowed three rides for three hits with two walks and three strikes. Cormac Terry allowed four rides in two relief shifts, while Nick Marini played the last three frames without a score.
Marietta (44-5) has advanced to the winners category and will play in Salisbury, which beat Wisconsin-Stevens Point 8-2, on Saturday at 13:15 CDT / 14: 15 CDT. Catholics (34-15) will play on Saturday at 10:00 CDT / 11:00 EDT against Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the elimination game.
“The team deserved it the most,” said the head coach of the Catholic Church Ross Natoli. “They played a little better than us.” Marietta took advantage of a few mistakes on our part. They got a big hit when they needed it. Trent Valentine performed an admirable match. I have to take my hat off in front of him. “
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