Shea, Valley Dogs show bite in 6-5 victory over Hudson Valley

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 15, 2023

Jayden Amodeo of the Valley Dogs worked a walk in this at bat against Hudson Valley Select 16U.

By Joe Hofmann

It was a little trying at times, but that is par for the course when a young pitcher needs to learn a valuable mound lesson.

Valley Dogs hurler Ryan Shea knows. He went through the process and came away a better hurler Monday morning.

Call it Pitching 101.

What’s easier:

1. Doing all of the heavy lifting yourself? Or;

2. Getting help from eight other people?

For most of the game against Hudson Valley Select 16U, Shea chose “2.” But during a harrowing seventh inning, he gave “1” a try.

In the end, he was able to escape with the ‘W’ as well as ammunition he can use later on. Shea’s Valley Dogs team outlasted Hudson Valley, 6-5, in the Super 16U Top 25 at Diamond Nation.

Shea pitched beautifully for the first six innings, allowing two runs on two hits. He pitched to contact and had an easier time of it.

But in the seventh, he admittedly tried getting it done on his own and almost allowed Hudson Valley to come all the way back from the 6-2 deficit they faced entering the seventh.

“In the first six innings, I induced a lot of soft contact, which is what you want,” he said. “My defense was making all the plays, but in the seventh, I ran out of gas. I’m just glad we were able to get the win.”

Brayden Morgan of the Valley Dogs gets a first bump from his coach after a base hit.

In the seventh, Hudson Valley battled back.

Tommy Benfer led off with a double and took third on a sloppy throw back to the infield. Shea then hit Mike Bonito before Mason Hoover’s RBI single to left. Hoover stole second and scored behind Bonito when D.J. Clifford reached on an infield throwing error that shaved the lead to 6-5. But Shea would get out of it by inducing a 4-6-3 double play and a subsequent flyout to right to end the game.

“Ryan Shea is a bulldog,” coach Rob Tandy said. “He pitched with a lot of heart today.”

Fortunately for the Valley Dogs, they built an early lead that allowed Shea some wiggle room late. The Dogs scored two in the first inning and added two more runs in the second and one more in the third to take a 5-2 lead.

Jayden Amodeo walked and stole second off starter Benfer before coming in on Brayden Morgan’s single to right. Morgan stole second and came home on Kai Ross’ RBI single to center.

In the second, the Dogs staged a two-out, bases-empty rally.

Morgan walked and stole second before scoring on Ross’ triple. Ross came in on Shea’s single to right.

In the third, Sean Tandy walked – you guessed it – stole second, advanced to third on Luke Good’s single to center and scored on Owen McGonigle’s single to left.

The early run support helped Shea immensely.

“Pitching with a lead definitely helps,” he said. “I just threw strikes and if they hit it … then good for them. I didn’t give in to them.”

Another factor was Valley Dogs’ baserunning ability. The team unofficially stole eight bases.

“We take pride in our baserunning,” Tandy said. “As a team, we always look for that. We take pride in reading pitchers and in our baserunning.”

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