PINSON — What looked like it might be a walkover of a Class 5A first-round playoff series turned out to be a little tougher than that, but Pinson Valley finally took down visiting Walker 10-0 in a six-inning third game to advance.
After dispensing with the Vikings 12-2 in five innings in Friday night’s first game, the tenth-ranked Indians may have been a shade complacent, and Walker took advantage. Pitcher Brad Eckmyre struggled, and was eventually pulled midway through a six-run rally in the fifth inning by the Vikings. Reliever Baker Hodge got nowhere literally; he gave up two more runs on two hits without recording an out.
Finally Zac Ray came in to clean up the mess, but by that time Walker had run out to a 10-2 lead, and the die was cast.
Pinson did make somewhat of a late run, thanks to a lead-off home run in the sixth by Tyler Evans, plus doubles by Jason McCurdy and Jason Little that led to two more runs, but that wasn’t nearly enough.
James Tidwell was the winning pitcher, despite allowing 11 hits against only two strikeouts. He also drove in two run with a double, and also hitting into a bases-loaded double play.
Carlos Robinson, Saige Harding and Richard McCarty each were 2-for-3 at the plate, and Logan Nix was 2-for-4 for Walker. Josh Hines went 3-for-4 for Pinson; Evans, Jared McCurdy and Scott Falkinburg each were 2-for-3.
Thoroughly chastened by the sub-par outing in the early game, the Indians more than made up for it in the deciding contest.
Bailey Chesser was in command on the mound from the start. The 6-foot-4 hurler allowed just three hits and struck out five as he went all six innings.
“Bailey did a great job of commanding the zone,” Indians coach Shane Chappell said. “When he’s in the zone he’s tough to hit, but one thing he’s lacked this year has been consistency from game to game.”