G’field gets money’s worth; Riverside cashes in at end
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 12:02 am
However, the Panthers cashed in on a pair of untimely Yellowjacket miscues with two outs in the seventh frame to claim a 1-0 triumph in what was otherwise a pitcher’s duel between UT Martin signee Dalton Potts and R’side’s Stephen Gant.
“I can’t be more proud of this team to play as well as they did tonight,” Yellowjacket skipper Willie Trevathan said after the game in front of a crowd of at least 1,000 spectators. “We were one hit away from winning.
“My hat goes off to Riverside. They’re a great team. I feel like we had two of the best teams in the state playing tonight and if the crowd came to see a good baseball game, they got their money’s worth.”
Potts pitched a complete game for G’field and the only run he allowed was unearned. He finished the 2011 season with a 9-1 mark and 1.30 earned run average.
On Friday, Potts struck out five and gave up just four hits and walked one. Potts hit one batter.
In the other dugout, Gant — a junior who has verbally committed to Vanderbilt — was equally impressive as he struck out 14, walked two and gave up a pair of safeties.
With the defeat, Greenfield’s 2011 campaign ends one victory short of the state tournament. It is the third consecutive season in which G’field has advanced to the sectional round of the postseason.
“It’s been a heck of a ride,” Trevathan said of the past three years. “I’ve been blessed to coach this bunch. They led us to three district titles, two regional championships and three sectional games.
“The seniors on this team put Greenfield baseball on the map and proved today that we belong with the best in the state. It’s a travesty that they didn’t get to play in the state tournament.”
The only run of the contest came across home plate with two outs in the final inning.
Panther shortstop Ryne Fisher drew a walk on four straight pitches at the start of the inning as the strike zone appeared — to the naked eye — to shrink somewhat during the at-bat.
Three of the four pitches during the at-bat appeared to be within the area deemed as strikes thoughout earlier innings.
Whatever the case, Riverside catcher Alex Whitwell followed the free pass with a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Fisher to second base with one out.
Then, R’side right fielder grounded out to third baseman Jacob Johnson, who looked Fisher back to make sure he did not advance.
The fourth hitter of the frame — Panther left fielder Brice White — smacked a ground ball that shortstop Heath Crouse was unable to handle.
Moments later, White moved to second uncontested during the at-bat of Josh Keen.
With the game on the line, Keen hit what appeared to be a routine groundball to second baseman Zac Grooms. Grooms fielded the ball cleanly, but was unable to get it out of his glove for the throw to first.
Thus, Keen was safe at first and Fisher scored the game’s lone tally.
Up until that point, Greenfield had the best chance to score just minutes early in the contest that took just one hour, 40 minutes to complete.
After Heath Crouse struck out to start the seventh canto, Tyler Jones singled to right field and moved to second when a balk was called on Gantz.
Johnson struck out looking, as well, but Hunter Crouse was able to coax a walk in an at-bat where the county went to 3-2 before the final pitch. Crouse almost pulled the trigger, but it was ruled that he did not swing.
As the R’side catcher was appealing to the first-base umpire, Jones broke for third and safely slid into the bag to put the go-ahead run just 90 feet from home plate.
However, Gant fanned Payton Page to retire the side.
Greenfield also left a runner on in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Potts walked to start the fourth frame, but was stranded at first as two of the next three hitters struck out and one flew out.
In the fifth, Page walked with two outs and stole second, but he was stuck 180 feet from a score as Graham Perkins went down swinging for the inning’s final out.
For the game, Jones had both of G’field’s hits.
Riverside (33-2) left runner’s on in third, fourth and sixth innings.
The Panthers only had two baserunners in scoring position prior to the seventh frame.
It appeared R’side would threaten in the fifth inning after Whitwell reached on an error to start the inning, but Potts got courtesy runner K.J. Barham in a rundown and erased the baserunner.
From there, the G’field hurler — one of six seniors on the squad — retired the side easily.
Aside from Potts, Jones, Cody Worley, Jacob Johnson, Steven Sawyers and Dakota Bills all suited up in a Greenfield baseball jersey for the final time on Friday afternoon.