Bobby Towne, Jacob Toney star for Walker Valley Mustangs, South Pittsburg Pirates

Bobby Towne, Jacob Toney star for Walker Valley Mustangs, South Pittsburg Pirates

May 23rd, 2012 by Stephen Hargis in Sports - Preps

Walker Valley's Matthew Simmons sprints for a catch in the outfield during their game against Germantown High School at Spring Fling in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The first step toward a possible state baseball championship can be the toughest, but both Walker Valley and South Pittsburg found ways to narrowly advance Tuesday. Walker Valley was aided by two throwing errors in the sixth inning to beat Germantown 1-0 in its Class AAA opener, while South Pittsburg rallied for a 3-1 win over Cascade in Class A.

The Mustangs and Pirates play today in their respective winners brackets at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Walker Valley will play Bearden at Oakland High and South Pittsburg faces defending state champion Decatur Riverside at Middle Tennessee Christian.

After Walker Valley's Bobby Towne led off the sixth with a single, he advanced to third on Red Devils catcher Cameron Coker's throwing error after fielding a bunt by Matthew Simmons. The Mustangs then executed a double steal and when Coker again threw the ball away trying to run down Simmons, winning pitcher Towne scored what would prove to be the game-winner.

"It didn't matter how. We just wanted to get that first win and stay in the winners bracket another day," Walker Valley coach Joe Shamblin said. "This game does a world of good for our kids' confidence, because now they believe they can play with any of the teams over here."

Although Walker Valley was outhit 4-3, Towne also improved to 10-1 on the mound, striking out nine and walking two. Aside from Towne's single, the Mustangs also got singles from Jake Ward and Jared Broome.

South Pittsburg fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but after tying the game in the second it took the lead on Cody Branham's two-out RBI single in the third. Michael Allen scored twice and Jacob Toney went the distance, striking out nine and improving to 9-0 for the season.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.