Bulldogs battling through tough stretch

Bulldogs battling through tough stretch

It’s tough to repeat. That’s a truism for most championship teams in any sport at almost every level, and the Greenwood Bulldogs are learning that lesson first hand in 2019.

After winning the Class 6A state title last season behind the strong right arm of Connor Noland, now pitching for the University of Arkansas, the Diamond ‘Dogs are off to a 10-7 start, but are only 2-4 in 5A West league play.

Head Coach Trey Holloway and his team went 2-3 last week, but there’s a lot of season left and plenty of time for the Bulldogs to right the ship and finish strong heading into the state playoffs.

Greenwood lost a conference doubleheader at Russellville on March 26th, split two games at home with league foe Vilonia on April 2nd, then won 5-2 over non-conference opponent Ozark last Saturday.

Russellville

After their successful but long road trip to Arizona over spring break, the Bulldogs traveled to Pope County last Tuesday, March 26th, for a conference doubleheader. Both games were close and hard-fought, but the home-standing Cyclones came out on top in both contests, winning 4-2 and 6-4.

In the opener Russellville scored in the home half of the first before Greenwood tied it up with a run in the fourth. But the Cyclones responded by retaking the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the fourth, then added two more runs in the fifth.

Greenwood scored a single run in the sixth, but could exact no more damage against Russellville pitching. Neither team did much with the bats, combining for only seven hits in the game, just two by the visitors. The Bulldogs struck out 13 times in the contest.

Sophomore Landry Jurecka started on the mound for the Diamond ‘Dogs and went all six innings. He gave up just five hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Only one of Russellville’s four runs were earned. The GHS defense made two critical errors behind him, but Jurecka also hit a couple of batters.

Freshman Matt Munday and junior Colton Sagely accounted for Greenwood’s only two hits and RBIs.

In game two both teams broke out the bats in the opening frame, each scoring three runs. Russellville added a run in the third, but Greenwood tied the score at 4-4 with a run in the fourth.

The Cyclones pushed across the winning runs in the bottom of the sixth while the ‘Dogs were held scoreless over the last three innings. A GHS error and a passed ball aided Russellville’s winning rally.

 Junior Jace Presley started the game for Greenwood, going 2.1 innings and giving up four runs on two hits and two walks with one strikeout. Only one of those runs was earned.

Nick Phelps then relieved Presley and finished game, taking the loss. Phelps gave up two runs on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Both runs were earned.

Offensively, Greenwood managed seven hits, three of which came off the bat of Colton Sagely. The junior outfielder had a single and two doubles, but did not figure in the scoring for the Bulldogs.

Matt Mundy had the team’s only two RBIs on a double. He also scored a run along with Caden Brown, Chance Eoff, and Landry Jurecka.

Vilonia

Nick Phelps was all over the place in the opener of last Tuesday’s 12-3 win over the Vilonia Eagles, but the GHS offense provided all the cushion he needed.

The Bulldogs’ starting pitcher was effectively wild, issuing six walks while allowing four hits in the team’s 5A West conference victory, their second of the season.

In earning the victory, Phelps struck out three enemy hitters and gave up no earned runs.

Chance Eoff, Preston Jurecka, Landry Jurecka, and Matt Munday drove home two runs each for the winners, who snapped their three-game league winless streak.

Colton Sagely had a huge game with four hits, including a pair of triples and a double. Sagely, Eoff, and Peyton Holt all scored twice. Preston Jurecka also scored three times.

The Diamond ‘Dogs scored three runs in the first to put the visiting Eagles on notice. Greenwood then added two runs in the fourth and seven in the fifth to seal the win. The visitors got a single run in the second and two more in the fourth.

At the plate, the Bulldogs out-hit Vilonia 12-4 and both teams were sloppy on defense, combining for seven errors, three by Greenwood. Three other players, including Munday, Eoff, and Chance Sneathern, had two hits each.

Game two was a nail biter as Greenwood rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to force extra innings. Vilonia scored three times in the second inning and led 3-1 after four frames and 3-2 after six before the home team tied the score with a run in the seventh.

Neither team scored in the eighth or ninth innings, but both scored three runs in the tenth, making the score 6-6.

Down 6-3 with one out in the tenth, the Bulldogs rallied, taking advantage of a walk, two errors, a passed ball and a lone RBI single by sophomore Reed Carroll in his only plate appearance. He later scored the tying run on another passed ball.

But Vilonia won the game with a two-out single and RBI double in the 11th after the Bulldogs were retired in order in the bottom half of the frame.

Landry Jurecka started the game on the mound for the Bulldogs and went a full seven innings, fanning six and giving up three earned runs on eight hits.

He was relieved by Cade Lynch, who went the remaining four frames and took the hard-luck loss. He also fanned six, giving up four runs, but only one earned.

Offensively Greenwood was led by Colton Sagely with three hits, all singles. He also scored three times. Preston Jurecka added two hits, both singles, drove in a run and scored once.

Ozark

Last Saturday the Bulldogs hosted the Hillbillies and earned a 5-2 win behind the solid mound work of starter Jace Presley, who went six strong innings. He was relieved by Chance Eoff who worked the seventh inning. Presley gave four hits, two walks, and two earned runs.

Greenwood got all the offense it needed in the first with four runs, then added another in the second for a 5-0 lead. The visitors scored both their runs in the sixth off Presley.

Senior Peyton Holt had two hits to lead Greenwood offensively, including a double, two RBIs, and a run scored. Preston Jurecka also added an RBI.

Upcoming

The Bulldogs were slated to play at Siloam Springs this past Tuesday, but results were not available at press time for the conference doubleheader.

They also have a non-conference contest scheduled for Friday at Springdale before hosting Beebe next Tuesday in a league doubleheader starting at 4:30 p.m.

They will also host the Farmington Cardinals next Friday in non-conference play starting at 5 p.m.

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