The post-season is all about being hot at the right time, and the Greenwood Bulldogs are on fire right now, winners of nine consecutive games. Only three games remain on the regular season schedule.
Head Coach Trey Holloway and his defending 6A state champion Diamond ‘Dogs are currently 19-7 overall and 8-4 in 5A West conference play.
But that’s only good enough for fifth place in the league standings behind Little Rock Christian, Greenbrier, Vilonia, and Russellville, though all those teams have played just 10 league games so far.
Only LR Christian (.800) and Greenbrier (.789) have a better overall winning percentage than Greenwood (.731), but just the top four teams in the league qualify for the playoffs.
The Bulldogs have only one conference series remaining, a doubleheader at Greenbrier next Tuesday that could determine the post-season fate of both teams. The state tournament begins May 9th at Benton.
The Bulldogs broke out the bats this past Monday against the Airedales, winning in a pair of blowouts, 16-0 and 20-2. Both games were shortened to five innings due to the mercy rule.
In the opener, sophomore pitcher Landry Jurecka threw a complete-game shutout for the Diamond ‘Dogs, a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts and no walks.
“He mixed his fastball in and his slider in,” said Coach Holloway after the game. “He threw with a little bit of velocity, and we made the plays when we needed to.”
The coach also paid Jurecka a huge compliment, comparing him to a former GHS standout hurler now pitching for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Holloway said, “His demeanor is very similar to Connor Noland’s,” Holloway said. “That’s what he is starting to establish. His velocity will continue to get up there and his breaking ball will get a sharper.”
Greenwood scored once in the second frame, four times each in the third and fifth innings, and seven more runs in the sixth for the 16-0 victory. A dropped foul ball in the third inning opened the door for the Bulldogs, and their hitters took advantage.
Overall, the ‘Dogs banged out 11 hits and received 10 walks from three Alma pitchers. The Airedales defense also made three errors accounting for five unearned runs.
Reed Carroll, Jace Presley, and Caden Brown all had two hits each. Both of Presley’s hits were doubles, giving him four RBIs. Matthew Munday also drove home three runs with a double and a pair of walks. Chance Eoff also had a hit and three RBIs.
In game two Landry Jurecka was again the star, this time with the bat, driving in four runs on a pair of hits in the 20-2 shellacking. Nick Phelps got the pitching win with four innings of work and 10 strikeouts, yielding two runs. He was relieved by Cade Shrum for one inning.
Offensively, the visiting Bulldogs scored three times in the opening frame, then added eight runs in the second, seven runs in the third, and two more in the fifth.
While Greenwood collected 14 hits, once again it was the inability to throw strikes that killed the Airedales, issuing 10 bases-on-balls in the game.
Presley, Brown, Eoff, and Chance Sneathern all had two hits each for Greenwood. Ethan Williams and Peyton Holt scored three runs each to lead the team.
Presley joined Jurecka in the four-RBI club, while Preston Jurecka added three RBIs, along with Caden Brown. Jayden Jasna and Chance Eoff both drove home two runs.
Last Friday the Bulldogs hosted the Cardinals in non-conference play, winning 4-3 in their final at-bat on an error off the bat of Colton Sagely. Jace Presley got the win for Greenwood on the mound.
Presley went the distance, all seven innings, fanning seven and allowing six hits and three walks. The GHS defense was solid behind him, making just one error.
The ‘Dogs scored once in the first but trailed 2-1 after three innings. Another run in the top of the seventh put the Cards up 3-1 heading into the bottom of the frame.
But the offense came to life with three consecutive hits to start the GHS seventh. Landry Jurecka, Cade Lynch, and Ethan Williams all reached base, followed by an RBI walk to Chance Eoff.
Peyton Holt singled to tie the score, leaving the bases loaded with no outs. Sagely then rapped the ball to the left side of the infield, leading to the run-scoring error and the Greenwood walk-off win.
Both teams had six hits, but Farmington also made four errors, including the critical one in the seventh inning. No Greenwood player had more than one hit, but Sagely was credited with two RBIs.
Last Tuesday, April 16th, the Diamond ‘Dogs hosted the Badgers in a conference doubleheader, winning 7-0 and 3-2, taking game two in walk-off fashion on a hit by Matthew Mundy.
In the opener, Landry Jurecka pitched five strong innings, allowing no runs on just one hit while fanning five and issuing only one walk. He was relieved by Cade Lynch, who threw a scoreless and hitless two innings.
The Bulldogs scored four of their runs in the bottom of the third inning, plus three more in the fourth on six total hits, three Beebe errors, and five Badger walks. Two of Greenwood’s runs were unearned.
Mundy and Chance Eoff had two hits each and collected five RBIs between them, three for Mundy and two for Eoff. Both of Munday’s hits were doubles, while Eoff had a triple.
In the nightcap, Greenwood scored solo runs in the second and fifth, while Beebe pushed across a pair of runs in the fourth. With the scored tied at 2-2, the game entered extra innings.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Greenwood’s Peyton Holt tripled, but the Badgers elected to walk the next two hitters to load the bases and try for a double play or force out at home.
The strategy backfired, however, when Mundy clubbed a single to left field to score Holt and end the game. Preston Jurecka had three hits to lead the Bulldogs.
On the mound, Nick Phelps was effective for six innings before being relieved by Holt, who was credited with the win. The two combined for 11 strikeouts and gave only three walks and eight hits. The GHS defense was perfect.
On April 12th the Greenwood Bulldogs traveled to Northwest Arkansas to take on the Class 6A Springdale Bulldogs in a non-conference contest. The Diamond ‘Dogs scored five runs in the seventh for the 11-6 win. Starting pitcher Jace Presley earned the victory.
He went six innings, giving up four hits, four walks, and five runs, striking out nine Springdale hitters. He was relieved by Cade Lynch in the seventh.
The visiting Bulldogs scored twice each in the third, fourth, and fifth innings and led 6-5 heading into the seventh. Greenwood added five runs in the top of the frame, allowing a solo run to Springdale in the bottom half of the inning.
Four GHS hitters – Holt, Presley, Mundy, and Sagely – had two hits each. Holt added three RBIs, while Reed Carroll, Presley, Eoff, and Sagely all had two RBIs. Mundy and Sagely each had a double, while Holt had a homerun.
On April 9th the Bulldogs scored 19 runs in a doubleheader sweep over the Panthers, 9-6 and 10-2. Landry Jurecka and Nick Phelps earned the pitching victories for Greenwood.
Jurecka was not particularly sharp in the opener, giving up 11 hits and six runs over six innings of work. He walked just two batters and struck out six. The Panthers got most of their runs (5) in the third inning.
The Bulldogs scored once in the first, four times in the second, twice more in the third, and added two more runs in the seventh, despite being out-hit 11-7 by Siloam Springs, which also made six errors.
Senior shortstop Peyton Holt led the way at the plate for Greenwood, collecting three hits, two doubles, and four RBIs. Jace Presley added two hits, including a double and RBI. Reed Carroll and Chance Eoff scored two runs each.
In game two, Phelps went six innings, surrendering three hits and two runs with seven strikeouts and three walks. Holt relieved him and threw a scoreless seventh inning.
The Bulldogs out-hit Siloam Springs 12-3 and won the game 10-2, scoring four times in the second inning, once in the third, four times in the sixth, and once more in the seventh.
At the dish, four GHS players had multi-hit games, including Colton Sagely with three hits, including a double. Preston Jurecka, Jace Presley, and Peyton Holt all had two hits each.
Holt, Jurecka, and Matthew Munday also had two RBIs each. Caden Brown, Chance Eoff, and Sagely all scored twice each.
The Bulldogs will play at Fayetteville on Thursday in a non-conference game against the Purple Dogs. They will travel to Greenbrier next Tuesday for a final conference showdown with the Panthers, who currently sit one game ahead of Greenwood in the league standings.