The Greenwood Bulldogs opened the varsity baseball season last week with four games, all in tournament play, ending the week with a 2-2 record.
On the way back home from Stuttgart last Saturday they stopped off in Russellville to cheer on the Lady Bulldogs in the state semifinals against Little Rock Christian.
The Diamond ‘Dogs are loaded with talent and experience this season, but they got off to a rocky start, dropping their first two games in the Prep Baseball Report (PBR) tournament.
In their opener last Monday they fell 9-2 to Class 6A Van Buren, then lost a close one to Shiloh Christian, 4-2, last Tuesday. Both were home games for the Bulldogs.
The Van Buren Pointers, who will be joining the 5A West conference next season, visited Greenwood last Monday and pretty much throttled the GHS offense, holding the Bulldogs to just two runs on four hits.
For Greenwood, Jace Presley started the game, but gave up four walks, four hits, and was tagged with five earned runs. He was relieved in the third inning by Reed Carroll, who went 3.2 frames.
The Bulldogs got a solo run in the top of the first and another in the third, but that was it for the offense. The lineup struck out 12 times.
Bulldogs’ pitching gave up nine runs on just six hits and the defense committed two fielding errors. Van Buren scored solo runs in the first and second innings, then four more runs in the third and three more in the fourth.
Last Tuesday at home against Shiloh Christian, the Diamond ‘Dogs pitched much better, keeping the game close, but still came up short offensively, again scoring just two runs.
Matthew Munday started on the hill for the ‘Dogs and took the hard luck loss, pitching four frames, yielding five hits and three runs, only one of which was earned.
The home defense committed three errors in the game. Cade Shrum pitched three innings in relief, giving up one run. Munday also had two of Greenwood’s three hits in the game.
The Saints pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first, then scored single runs in the fifth and seventh. The Bulldogs scored once in the top of the third and again in the sixth, but that was it for the GHS bats.
Last Saturday the Bulldogs concluded play in the PBR tournament with a pair of games against West Memphis and Stuttgart. Both games were played in Stuttgart.
Greenwood won the varsity opener against West Memphis, 11-0, then defeated Stuttgart’s Ricebirds by a similar lopsided score of 12-2.
Against the Blue Devils the Diamond ‘Dogs broke out the whooping sticks early, scoring twice in the opening frame and three times in the second. They totaled eight hits and scored additional runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings before the game was halted.
The hits were well distributed, with only Colton Sagely collecting more than one safety. He clubbed a double and a homer and drove home four runners to lead the team.
On the mound, Greenwood got solid work from Landon Karnes, who went all five innings, giving just one hit, two walks, and one run with eight strikeouts.
Against Stuttgart the Diamond ‘Dogs scored three times in the top of the first, one each in the third and fourth innings, then twice more in the fifth before blowing the game open with a five-run sixth inning.
The game was called after six innings due to the 10-run rule, and Jace Presley got credit for the pitching victory with four innings of two-hit, two-run work. He also struck out six hitters and walked four.
Offensively, the ‘Dogs made the most of seven hits, two each by Sagely and Chance Eoff. Sagely scored four runs with an RBI, but Eoff drove home four runs with a single and double.
Dylan Strozier and Jace Presley also had two RBIs each.
Head coach Chad Mercado was not concerned about opening the season with consecutive losses. “I’m definitely still high on my guys,” he said. “In the excitement of opening the season we just got away from some things that we wanted to accomplish, but we got better this past weekend.”
The Bulldogs were slated to play this past Monday at home against Ft. Smith Southside, weather permitting. The forecast was for rain much of this week and next. Greenwood is slated to host Shiloh Christian again on Friday.
Conference season will begin next Tuesday on the road at Little Rock Christian. Rogers-Heritage will host the Bulldogs next Thursday in non-conference play.