Small stuff is key in big UC triumph

Small stuff is key in big UC triumph
The Union City Greyhounds didn’t sweat the small stuff in their 4-3 edging of the Marion Bobcats Wednesday night.
Instead, UC — which begins a seven-game road trip tonight at Farmington — did all of the small things correctly with a pair of key sacrifice flies and a couple of perfectly executed hit-and-runs during the victory.
“We’ve been trying to be aggressive offensively and we’ve struggled to execute whether it was getting a hit-and-run or a sacrifice to work for us,” Greyhounds’ manager Jonathan Estes said after the triumph that put his team over .500 on the season with a record of 19-18.
“Tonight was different and it seemed we did all the little things well. That was the decider in this game. We may not have gotten the key hit with a runner at third, but the sacrifices we did get made the difference.”
Furthermore, some small folks from the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Tennessee that came to the game to cheer on Nate Coleman may have put a little pep in his step, as well.
Coleman, whose uncle Ron Green was responsible for getting the large contingent to Elam Stadium, was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and one batted in.
When Coleman led off the game in the bottom of the first, the entire section where the youngsters were perched began a chant of “Nate.”
And the former Union City High School standout did not keep his fan club waiting long.
On the first pitch in the home half of the first, Coleman drove a high fastball to right field for a single.
Coleman then stole second and he advanced to third thanks to an errant throw on his swipe attempt.
Trey Horn chased home the hometown hero with a double that gave UC a 1-0 lead with an inning complete.
“I was pumped during that first at-bat,” Coleman admitted after the victory. “With the crowd chanting my name, I was going after the first pitch regardless and, though it was a little high, I was able to push it into right field.”
Marion fought back to tie the game in the second, but UC added another run in the bottom of the third.
With one out, Greyhounds’ shortstop Justin Miller drew a walk and he eventually came across to score thanks to a throwing error on a Cam Strang single that followed.
The ’Hounds also put up single runs in the fourth and sixth to aid Drew Hayes’ splendid mound performance.
In the fourth, it was Coleman who got the RBI on a sacrifice fly that plated Luke Putnam.
During the bottom of the sixth, Coleman was chased home by Trey Horn on a sacrifice fly of his own.
On the mound, Hayes tossed seven innings of one-hit baseball with just three walks issued and seven strikeouts.
“Drew threw well tonight and he dropped a lot of fastballs in there for strikes,” Estes said. “His curveball wasn’t as good as it has been, but he still had a lot of success.
“Unfortunately, there were a few battles at the plate and his pitch count got high, which is why we pulled him earlier than we would have liked to.”
Spencer Clifft came on and pitched the final 1 1/3 innings after Justin DeVoe faultered in relief of Hayes.
Clifft picked up his eighth save with nothing allowed during his time on the mound.
DeVoe was tagged for two runs on three hits and a walk in one-third of an inning.
On a team note, Jonathan Keck, who joined the team and had the game-winning RBI in Tuesday’s game, is no longer a member of the Greyhounds’ squad after just one game. His brother, Billy, who was to play for the team as well, is also gone from the locals’ fold.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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