G’field downed, but not out of hunt
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 12:02 am
By: Mike Hutchens, Press Sports
Greenfield’s Hunter Crouse (right) blocks second base in an effort to get Union City’s Drew Cooley out.
Greenfield’s 4-3 upset loss to Union City in the Region 7A championship game wasn’t the end of the world.
It wasn’t even the end of the Yellowjackets’ season.
Punching an elusive first-ever state tournament ticket though, got a little more difficult because of the setback.
Greenfield, which had beaten UC twice on its way to claiming the District 14A title, must now go on the road and win vs. reigning Class 1A state champion Riverside on Friday after a surprise loss to a Tornado club it had beaten in three of four matchups before Wednesday.
The Yellowjackets (20-7) will play at Riverside (32-2)— a 13-6 winner over Trinity Christian Academy in the Region 8 title game — Friday at a time yet to be determined by press time. (Check the paper’s website, nwtntoday.com, later today for the start time)
Greenfield head coach Willie Trevathan said his team must get over the disappointment of Wednesday’s loss quickly to tackle the challenge of a Panther club that handed them a 20-3 loss in the first week of the regular season.
“This one is done and over with. We can’t change it,” Trevathan said after his team committed an uncharacteristic four errors and hit just 2-of-13 with runners in scoring position against Union City. “We have to turn the page quickly and that’s what we told our guys.
“We’re still alive and we have a chance if we go to Riverside and play our best.”
Unlike in their previous two games when the ’Jackets jumped on UC early and never let up, it was the Tornadoes who grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first Wednesday and never trailed despite several G’field threats and a rally that had the winning run at the plate when the game ended.
UC regularly put pressure on the ‘Jackets by putting its leadoff man aboard in each of the first five frames. And unlike Greenfield, which struggled with men at second and third, the Twisters got three straight two-out hits and took advantage of a costly fielding misplay in the third when they scored three runs to take a 4-0 lead.
“The biggest difference between this and the other two games in the tournament
is they got the leadoff guy on consistently and really put the pressure on us defensively,” Trevathan agreed. “We weren’t at our best early on defense, and they put the ball in play and took advantage of some chances we gave them.
“And we hit the ball hard I thought, but we hit it right at them at some critical times. That’s the way it works sometimes.”
Held to just two hits through four innings by Union City spot-starter Brandon Griffin — who got great defensive plays behind him by rightfielder Tyler Stewart in the third and leftfielder Caleb Long in the fourth that kept the ’Jackets from scoring three runs — G’field finally broke through in the fifth.
Zac Grooms led off with a single and was joined aboard when both Hunter Crouse and Dalton Potts both walked — the former with one out, the latter with two down.
Heath Crouse then finally came through with G’field’s first hit with men in scoring position after his team had failed in five previous chances when he lined a 3-2 pitch for a two-run single to halve the difference to 4-2. The rally died there though, with a flyout with runners at second and third.
The Yellowjackets finally chased Griffin in the sixth with a couple of hits and eventually loaded the bases against reliever Eric Moore but failed to score after another flyout.
Greenfield mounted one a threat in its last at-bat when it plated its final run — on a Jacob Johnson single that chased home Potts — before Payton Page struck out swinging for the final out.
Heath Crouse (7-3), who’d shut out Union City in his last outing, was charged with the pitching loss after giving up all four UC runs (three earned) in 42⁄3 innings. Southpaw Adam Bethel was solid in a 21⁄3 inning relief stint, allowing just one hit.