GREENVILLE — The Greenville varsity baseball team split a doubleheader with the Celina Bulldogs Saturday to up its season record to 3-1.
“I call it the Celina split,” Greenville varsity baseball coach Eric Blumenstock said. “It seems like every year they bring a good team up here, and we split.”
A twin bill that was scheduled to be played in Celina was moved to Sater Park due to recent weather conditions. A new field tarp at Sater had the Greenville field in excellent condition, allowing the games to be moved to the Wave’s home field.
Greenville senior Colton Nealeigh continued his torrid hitting, banging out a double to deep left field for the Wave’s lone first inning hit in the top first with the Wave taking the field as the visiting team.
The Bulldogs used an unearned run to take a 1-0 first inning lead.
The Wave put six runs on the board in the top of the second, starting with a single from Kyle Bruner, a single and an RBI off the bat of Logan Eldridge, followed with a fielder’s choice for out No. 1.
Back-to-back walks and a fly to right had Cole Ward coming to the plate with bases loaded with two outs.
A Ward single and RBI gave Greenville a 2-1 lead followed with Nealeigh collecting three RBIs with a triple to deep center field. A wild throw into the Wave dugout awarded Nealeigh home plate and a 6-1 Wave lead.
“Double after double,” coach Blumenstock said of his No. 3 batter, Nealeigh. “He’s driving the baseball … really hitting it well. The kid is special. That’s all I can say. He’s a special talent.”
Celina went down in order in the bottom of the inning followed with a Bruner single to center for the Wave’s only hit in the top of the third.
The Bulldogs scored six runs in the bottom of the third with a single, three walks, a costly Green Wave error and a bloop-infield single to lead 7-6 at the end of three.
“There are a couple innings where we struggle with our location (pitching), but for the most part we have been doing a pretty good job,” Blumenstock said.
Celina tacked on two fourth-inning runs, taking a 9-6 lead with four innings competed.
Nealeigh led off the top of the fifth with a double to left followed with a Ryan Eldridge single to center, scoring Nealeigh to trail 9-7.
With Austin Weimer pitching in relief, Celina went down in order in the bottom of the fifth.
Greenville added a run in the top of the sixth with a single to right and an RBI off the bat of Ward, cutting the Bulldogs’ lead to 9-8, followed with an intentional walk to Nealeigh and a pop to first for the final out.
“They know it’s coming (a hit off the bat of Nealeigh),” Blumenstock said. “They try to pitch around him.”
Celina would take game one 9-8 with both teams going scoreless in the final inning.
Playing the second game as the home team, the Green Wave took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with Ward taking first by way of a hit batsman followed with a Nealeigh double scoring Ward.
The Wave held a 1-0 lead through three complete innings before the Bulldogs would take a 4-1 fourth-inning lead with the aid of two Greenville errors.
The Wave took a 6-4 lead, scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth with a hit batsman, four walks, an RBI walk to Ward, a single and two RBIs from Nealeigh capped off with a two-RBIs single to right off the bat of Bruner with all runs coming with two outs.
“The other guys in the lineup have done their job, and we have only had one opportunity for the other team to walk him (Nealeigh), not throw him pitches,” Blumenstock said. “We’re getting on base in front of him, we’re getting on base behind him, and we are getting the job done.”
The Wave gave up an unearned fifth-inning run, making the final score 6-5 as Weimer set the final Bulldog batter down on strikes with two runners on base.
“Austin (Weimer) has been on all year pitching wise,” Blumenstock said. “He came in and shut them down the last inning. I didn’t want to use him a lot. Keep the pitch count low, which he did because I want him to start Tuesday for our second league game.”