Greenwood rallies in game two to complete baseball sweep of Van Buren

Greenwood's Grant Karnes throws a pitch during a baseball game on Thursday, March 28, 2024, at Bulldog Field in Greenwood. Greenwood swept Van Buren 3-2, 9-8 in 5A-West Conference action. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery. 
(River Valley Democrat Gazette/Caleb Grieger)
Greenwood's Grant Karnes throws a pitch during a baseball game on Thursday, March 28, 2024, at Bulldog Field in Greenwood. Greenwood swept Van Buren 3-2, 9-8 in 5A-West Conference action. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery. (River Valley Democrat Gazette/Caleb Grieger)


GREENWOOD – The Bulldogs were down but not out Thursday night.

Greenwood rallied for six runs in the fifth inning to tie the game and then won it, 9-8, in the bottom of the seventh inning to complete the sweep of Van Buren in the 5A-West Conference doubleheader.

"That's going to be huge down the road," Greenwood Coach Brandon Brewer said. "We told our guys before the game that it was going to be a big one."

Grant Karnes went the distance for the Bulldogs in the opener with a 10-strikeout performance in a 3-2 win.

In Game 2, Karnes legged out an infield single to start the home half of the seventh inning and stole second. After a strikeout, Jaxon Cole lined a single to right-center field to score Karnes for the 9-8 win in the nightcap.

Greenwood scored six runs in the fifth inning on five hits to erase a six-run deficit and tie the game at 8-8.

"We really didn't do anything differently than we had been doing," Brewer said. "We continued to try to grind out at-bats. Their pitching was really good at keeping us off balanced. We just fought, scratched and clawed, one at-bat at a time and got it done."

The Bulldogs (10-3, 3-1) had seven straight batters reach base with Karnes, Brady Pettigrew, Cole and Austin Mitchell all driving in runs with successive hits. Cole's single in the inning scored two runs and was followed by a double to deep left by Mitchell.

Braden Skaggs also had a base hit in the inning, and Brady Morgan and Ty Holt walked and scored in the inning.

"We left 13 runners on base in the first game, and that was a point of emphasis for us," Brewer said. "We've got to cash in when the opportunity presents itself. We're capable one through nine. We have 10 or 11 guys that we feel comfortable with at the plate. We didn't change. We didn't panic. Down six runs, we just wanted to cut it in half. That was our goal early on to just cut the lead in half, cut the lead in half. When you put pressure on teams, eventually the pipes will bust."

Van Buren (9-5, 1-3) scored four runs in the first inning with run-scoring singles by Clark Seeger, Peyton Pschier and Austin Cain.

Van Buren scored an unearned run in the third inning and added a sacrifice fly by Tristan Ray for a 6-2 lead before going up 8-2 on a double by Ethan Bowen that scored Ian Rowe, and a base hit by Pschier that scored Bowen.

"That was two tough ones," Van Buren Coach Luke Weatherford said. "You lose two one-run games in conference, that was tough. We get up, 8-2, you can't relax. I don't know that we did. We just didn't throw enough strikes and gave up some hits. They got back in the game and got confident."

The Pointers had a chance to take a lead in their half of the seventh inning. Pschier started the seventh off with an infield single and took third on an errant pickoff attempt, but Mitchell coaxed a pop out and then struck out the final two batters to end the threat.

"This is competitive sports, they get the timely hit and they win and they think they're the greatest team ever," Weatherford said. "If we get the hit and get three outs, we're thinking a split is a good day. There's a very fine line between winning and losing when you're got two competitive teams playing."

Greenwood went to the bullpen early after giving up four runs in the first inning and a leadoff single in the second inning. Mitchell went the next six innings for the Bulldogs to earn the win, allowing two unearned runs and striking out six.

GAME 2

GREENWOOD 9, VAN BUREN 8

Van Buren^402^200^0^--^8^11^0

Greenwood^020^060^1^--^9^10^4

Stewart, Price (5), Weeden (5) and Pschier; Moore, Mitchell (2) and Holt. WP – Mitchell. LP -- Weeden. HRs – none.

GREENWOOD 3, VAN BUREN 2

Karnes allowed just two hits and no unearned runs, walking one and fanning 10. Karnes now has 34 strikeouts in 23-2/3 innings this season.

Skaggs opened Greenwood's half of the first inning with a walk and stolen base, and scored on a single by Karnes.

Greenwood added a run in the third inning on a run-scoring single by ZItzmann to score Brady Pettigrew, who led off with a double.

The Bulldogs went up 3-0 in the fifth inning with Zitzmann reaching on an infield single, advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Bercher and scoring on a two-out error.

Karnes breezed through five innings on 60 pitches before Van Buren scored twice in the sixth inning in a 30-pitch frame.

Clark Seeger singled and took second on a passed ball, and Ethan Bowen walked. Both moved up on a throwing error and scored on another error to cut Greenwood's lead to 3-2.

Karnes, who finished with 68 strikes in 105 pitches, struck out the final two batters in a perfect seventh inning.

"He's going to do Grant Karnes things," Brewer said. "You know what you're getting every time he steps on the rubber. It was huge that Grant threw the complete game in the first game and allowed our bullpen with Mitchell to be able to come in fresh and finish the deal."

Van Buren hosts Mountain Home for a 5A-West doubleheader on Tuesday, while Greenwood hosts Harrison.

GAME 1

GREENWOOD 3, VAN BUREN 2

Van Buren^000^002^0^--^2^4^2

Greenwood^101^010^x^--^3^7^4

Karnes and Holt; Wilcox, Price (6) and Pschier. WP – Karnes. LP – Wilcox. HRs – none.

FORT SMITH SOUTHSIDE 7, ALMA 5

Mason Howe and Will Hanesworth drove in two runs each as the Mavericks built a seven-run lead early in the nonconference win.

Southside opened with three runs in the first inning with Hanesworth doubling home Jackson Pruitt and Cayden Maness.

Southside added four runs in the top of the third with courtesy runner Isaac Gregory scoring on a passed ball, and two runs scored on a fielder's choice by Howe and an error. Gage Stewart made it 7-0 with a base hit to score Howe.

Colby Kimmons reached on error and scored Alma's first run in the home half of the third inning.

Michael Taylor's double scored Logan English and Kimmons, and Easton Daily's single scored Brayden Driscoll to cut Alma's deficit to 7-5.

Pruitt finished the win for Southside with a scoreless seventh inning, allowing a hit and a walk.

Southside steps away from 6A-West play next week with nonconference games against Subiaco Academy on Tuesday and Greenwood on Saturday.

Alma returns to 5A-West action on Tuesday with a trip to Russellville for a doubleheader.

SOUTHSIDE 7, ALMA 5

Southside^304^000^0^--^7^4^3

Alma^001^040^0^--^5^5^3

Zimmerman, Key (4), McCalip (5), Pruitt (7) and Hanesworth; Taylor, Green (3) and Bowerman. WP – Zimmerman. LP – Taylor. HRs – none.

  photo  Greenwood's Austin Mitchell slides into second base as Van Buren shortstop Hudson Stewart tries to field the ball during a baseball game on Thursday, March 28, 2024, at Bulldog Field in Greenwood. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery. (River Valley Democrat Gazette/Caleb Grieger)
 
 


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