Greenwood topples Warren East 4-2 to avoid series sweep
Adversity is a part of baseball, and Greenwood certainly faced it on Wednesday night when the Gators were no-hit by Warren East standout and University of Louisville commit Ryan Hawks in a 4-0 loss to the Raiders at Corey Hart Ballpark.
However it did not the Gators long to bounce back from that subpar performance.
Behind sophomore pitcher Dell Henk’s complete game on the mound and its offense coming through with three runs in the top of the fifth, Greenwood recorded a 4-2 victory over Warren East on Thursday night at Raider Ballpark to avoid the sweep in the District 14 series.
“I think our guys stayed confident,” Greenwood coach Jason Jaggers said. “Even after (Wednesday) night’s performance and the way Hawks pitched against us (Wednesday) night. They were confident coming in here and they were confident going into the dugout.”
“Warren East had us the first two nights and we talked (Wednesday night) that we’re going to face adversity and we’re going to fight through the adversity and we’re going to look it in the face. We’re going to come out and do everything that we can do to win, and that’s exactly what we did (Thursday night).”
Henk earned the win and went the full seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out four in game where he threw just 71 pitches—throwing under 10 in three of the innings.
“Every one of his pitches he had great command of,” Jaggers said. “He was able to hit spots, mix up speeds, and get ahead of hitters.”
Warren East continued to battle—putting two runners on base with only one out in the top of the sixth—but Henk was able to remain under control and go the distance.
“It felt good,” Henk said. “All I wanted to do was keep calm until all the way until the last out.”
The Raiders struggled to put anything together consistently on offense on a night where they held the Gator bats in check fairly well.
“Four runs should be good enough for us to win,” Warren East coach Wes Sanford said. “We have to be able to hit. (Henk)’s a strike-thrower, and we were just trying to swing at everything we got instead of being patient and looking for something we could really hit hard.”
Greenwood (11-5, 4-2 District 14) seized a 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Connor Cline smacked an RBI single down the left field line to plate Nate Cunningham, who had led off the inning with a walk.
The Raiders tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Ryan Hawks to bring in Ty Stringfield after Stringfield had led off the half inning with a single before advancing to third base on an errant pickoff attempt. Andrew McWhorter then reached on an error as Hawks came into score to give East a 2-1 lead after four innings.
The Raiders (7-7, 3-3) would not be in front for long.
Dell Henk tied the game up on an RBI single that scored Connor Cline, and Greenwood went back in front 3-2 when John Hicks laced a double to right to chase in courtesy runner Reed Slone. The Gators tacked on another run on an RBI single by Titus Thornhill, and that proved to be enough as Dell kept Warren East off of the scoreboard the rest of the way.
The Raiders will look to rebound in their district series with Warren Central next week.
“We just have to continue to fight,” Sanford said. “We have to get better. There’s so many things we have to improve in. We can’t worry about Warren Central as much as we worry about Warren East and getting better, working towards the postseason.”
Meanwhile Greenwood will play a neutral-site game against Gallatin (Tenn.) on Saturday afternoon at Allen County-Scottsville before having a three-game series with Bowling Green starting Monday.
“We just take it one game at a time,” Jaggers said. “We tell our guys: be in the moment, don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t worry about next week, don’t worry about who the next district series is. We’ll celebrate this one (Thursday night) and we’re going to turn our attention to Gallatin on Saturday and not worry about Bowling Green until next week.”