Diamond ‘Dogs headed to state after big win
By Richard White
This past Monday the Greenwood Bulldogs easily earned the right to advance in the 6A West conference tournament and qualify for the 6A state playoffs by hosting and beating Siloam Springs, 9-2. The Diamond ‘Dogs host Russellville on Thursday in round two.
The recent stormy weather has been a factor in the tournament, with Monday’s game originally slated for last Saturday, and Wednesday’s scheduled contest being moved to Thursday. The tournament finals will be played on Saturday with the higher seeded team serving as host.
Despite their excellent record of 22-6 entering the tournament, the Bulldogs were the second seed behind Sheridan, but were guaranteed to host two homes games as long as they remained in the winner’s bracket.
Head Coach Trey Holloway sent Cooper Van Kooten to the hill against the Panthers, and the senior hurler responded to the challenge, throwing six strong innings for the victory.
He allowed two runs on four hits, struck out eight Panthers’ hitters, and walked none. He was relieved in the seventh by Blake Pschier, who fanned two batters while retiring the side in order.
Greenwood scored a solo run in the bottom of the first inning, but put the game away quickly with six tallies in the second. The Bulldogs added insurance runs in the fourth and fifth, while Siloam Springs scored meaningless runs in the third and sixth innings.
A couple of Siloam Springs errors led to the first inning run, with Van Kooten scoring on a sacrifice fly by Cody Smith. A walk and a stolen base got things started in the second inning.
With Jake Smith on second and two outs, the Bulldogs sent nine more hitters to the dish, scoring six times to take a 7-0 lead. A double by freshman Colton Sagely got things rolling, driving home Smith with Greenwood’s second run.
Oddly enough that was the only GHS hit in the frame, as the defense committed several errors and equally shaky Siloam Springs pitching issued four additional walks.
Connor Noland scored in the fourth inning for Greenwood. After reaching on a base hit to left field, Noland came home on a single by Cody Smith.
Colton Sagely scored in the fifth after leading off the frame with a single and a stolen base, coming home on a double by Van Kooten.
The Bulldogs had only five hits in the game, two by Sagely to lead the team. Sagely, Smith, and Van Kooten were all credited with runs batted in. Only four of Greenwood’s nine runs were earned.
With the victory the Bulldogs improved their overall season mark to 23-6. Start time for Thursday’s contest with Russellville is 5 p.m., weather permitting.