Union City sickened; SF miscues terminal

Union City sickened; SF miscues terminal
Union City sickened; SF miscues terminal

Union City’s Clay Treece tries to keep Greenfield’s Tony Robinson close to second on Tuesday.
GREENFIELD — Reliving the details of their respective teams’ losses in the District 14A baseball tournament was tough enough for Union City’s Jeremy Maddox and Jeremy McFarland of South Fulton.
Only Maddox, though, will have the opportunity to erase that nightmare.
Both the Tornadoes and SF were beaten on Tuesday, the Devils’ heartbreaking 11-10 loss to Halls in an elimination game ending their 2011 season.
UC — a 10-0 loser to Greenfield in the nightcap winner’s bracket game — will get a chance to rid itself of the memory of a less-than-stellar performance when it faces Halls today at 5 in an elimination game with a spot in the tourney finals opposite Greenfield and a regional berth at stake.
The two Obion County teams were guilty of numerous physical and mental misplays that contributed to their demises.
The Twisters were guilty of five errors that led to five unearned runs, while a half-dozen South Fulton fielding or throwing mistakes helped erase a 7-0 Red Devil lead in the second inning.
“If there’s any silver lining in this, it’s that we were in the same situation last year where we had to beat Halls to get out of the loser’s bracket and get another shot at Greenfield in the championship round and clinch a regional tournament spot,” Maddox said after his team’s loss. “Other than that, there’s nothing good I can say.”
For his part, it was the case of same song, same verse for SF’s McFarland.
“We lost 11 games, and I’ll bet in seven of them we’ve jumped out and hit the ball and gotten a lead, but then made an error or two that opened the floodgates for the other team,” the Devils skipper said. “You just can’t give teams extra outs in innings when you get into the postseason.”
Union City will take a 21-6 record into today’s game with Halls, a team it beat 9-5 earlier in the tournament.
South Fulton closes its season with a 17-11 mark.
Greenfield 10, UC 0 (5)
The combination of the Tornadoes’ uninspired effort and the talents of G’field’s Heath Crouse spelled a mercy-rule loss for UC.
Crouse homered, drove in four runs and tossed a four-hit shutout to dominate at both the plate and on the mound.
Effectively mixing a fastball and a knuckleball, Crouse struck out six and walked just one while allowing just two Union City runners as far as third base.
The shutout was his third of the season and the win his seventh in nine decisions that include five complete games.
Crouse’s team-best two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning proved to be the only runs he’d need. He later added a sacrifice fly in a seven-run second and also contributed a fielder’s choice that accounted for another RBI.
Brandon Griffin and Branson Sherwood had doubles for Union City and Drake Parker recorded two singles in three at-bats for the Tornadoes’ minimal offense.
“Greenfield set the tone in that first inning with the (Crouse) home run after our first error, but I was just most displeased with the fact that we were passive and just didn’t respond to a big-game setting,” Maddox added.
Starter Kevin Freeman — the first of three Tornado pitchers — didn’t make it out of the second inning and was charged with the loss. He was followed to the hill by Griffin and Caleb Long.
Halls 11, SF 10
After blowing their big early lead, the Redmen actually went ahead again in the sixth, 9-8, on Kyle Clouse’s two-run double.
But Halls scored three times in the bottom of the frame, ironically plating what proved to be the deciding tally on an error after Zach Harris hit a sacrifice fly that brought home a tie-breaking run first.
Cody Tatum, who went 4-for-4 with three RBI, launched a long solo home run to centerfield to close the gap to 11-10 in the seventh before SF then stranded two runners when William Peery grounded out to third to end the game and the Devils’ season.
Clouse had two hits, two ribbies and two runs scored, while both Josh Clement and Harrison Hawks each went 2-for-3 — Clement driving home two and Hawks scoring three times.
Ryan Prince doubled, drove in two and scored two runs.
Prince (4-5), who relieved Clouse in the fifth, was saddled with the pitching loss.
The game was the last in a South Fulton uniform for seniors Clement — a five-year starter at catcher — and Peery.
“I just can’t say enough about what Josh has meant to our program over the last five years,” McFarland said of Clement. “He’s sort of a quiet leader, but he’s spoken up when he’s had to. And I know it’s a little bit of a cliché, but he’s been the first one to get here and the last one to leave almost every day.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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