UC quick to answer knock of opportunity

UC quick to answer knock of opportunity
UC quick to answer knock of opportunity

Union City’s Luke Putnam steps on home plate during the Greyhounds’ 8-4 victory Tuesday evening.
Opportunity knocked and the Union City Greyhounds were more than happy to answer the door in Tuesday’s 8-4 victory over the Farmington Firebirds.
The ’Hounds, who trailed 4-2 with four and a half innings played, struck for five runs — thanks to a pair of timely two-out errors to overtake the Firebirds for good.
From here, the Greyhounds (3-2) will now embark on a seven-game Kitty League road trip that begins tonight against the Owensboro Oilers.
UC’s next home game is June 12 against the Oilers.
However, Union City gave the home crowd one to remember before they leave town for over a week.
“For starters, we’ve been feeling and looking better in batting practice the last few days and getting used to the wooden bats,” Greyhounds’ manager Jonathan Estes said after the win. “Otherwise, I didn’t think our starting pitcher had his best stuff on the mound tonight, but he worked through some early troubles and he stayed in a spot where he could compete and get us the win.”
The UC starter and winning pitcher Ace Williams did indeed stumble early, allowing three runs in the first and one in the second, before settling in to pitch another 32/3 innings without any major challenge from Farmington.
Williams left the game in the top of the sixth with two outs after he was hit in his right thumb by a line drive that came off the bat of Mitch Gimmer.
“We’re going to probably have his thumb looked at either tonight or in the morning,” Estes said after Tuesday’s win. “It was swollen pretty bad where the ball had hit him square on the thumb.”
Williams was plunked from Tuesday’s victory just two outs after he got the lead.
In the bottom of the fifth with two outs and the Greyhounds down 4-2, Matt Phillips singled and he promptly stole second.
Then, Chase Samford singled to right field, with Phillips waved around to the plate by Estes.
The throw was on time, but Firebird catcher Juan Favella was hasty on his end of the play and he applied the tag onto Samford without ever having possession of the baseball.
When all was said and done on the play, UC trailed 4-3 and Samford was standing on second base.
Union City catcher Tyler Ack-er was then plunked by a pitch and Tanner Hensley reached on an error by the Farmington shortstop Gimmer, which allowed Samford to score and tie the game.
Leadoff man Justin Miller then dribbled a single to load the bases for Luke Putnam.
Putnam worked the count full and with every base runner in motion, he ripped a single into left field.
Whereas only Acker and Hensley would have scored, the Firebird left fielder Mike Zacerella let the ball go under his glove, thus allowing Miller to score, as well.
Putnam finished the evening as UC’s top dog with a 2-for-2 evening, a trio of runs batted in and one scored.
“Luke has got a good approach,” Estes explained after the game. “He knows what he wants to do when he steps in. Twice tonight, he was up with the bases loaded and a 3-1 count and he took another pitch to make the count full and force their pitcher to throw another pitch.”
After Williams came out of the game, Matt Riegler tossed one-third of an inning with Huntingdon native Spencer Clifft earning the three-inning save.
Clifft just joined the Grey-hounds’ fold from Walters State Community College, where he was a part of a 55-9 Senators’ team that advanced to the Junior College World Series.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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