DAYTON – The Greenville varsity baseball team traveled to Fifth Third Field to take on the Valley View Spartans at the home of the Dayton Dragons in an 11 a.m. Saturday contest.
The Green Wave wasted no time setting the tone for the game, taking a 6-0 lead before the Spartans took a turn at the plate.
Hitting in the leadoff spot Quinton Wood reached on an infield error followed with a Cole Ward single to right, putting runners on first and third. A Ward steal of second had Wave runners on second and third with no outs.
Ryan Eldridge lined a one-out single to left, scoring Wood and sending Ward to third to give the Wave an early 1-0 lead.
An Eldridge steal of second had runners on second and third, setting the table for senior first baseman Kyle Bruner to drill a double down the left field line, scoring Ward and Eldridge to take a 3-0 lead.
Senior catcher Bailey Haworth laced a single to left, scoring Bruner who took off with the crack of the bat from second, upping the score to 4-0.
Dylan Shumaker filling the designated hitter role, hit a single to right to put runners on first and third, bringing freshman right fielder Logan Eldridge to the plate to send a sacrifice fly to left for a 5-0 Wave lead.
Ethan Clark followed with a single to right, once again putting runners on first and third and setting the table for the sixth run with leadoff hitter Wood coming to the plate for the second time in the opening inning’ and collecting a bunt single that scored Clark for a 6-0 Greenville lead with the Spartans coming the plate.
Austin Baumgardner took the mound for the Wave with Valley View opening its half of the inning with a single to left only to be erased on a picture perfect 6-4-3 (R. Eldridge to Colton Nealeigh to Bruner) double play and followed with a third-out fly to Quinton Wood in center.
Nealeigh reached on a Spartans second-inning error and moved second on the overthrow to first.
A Wave groundout sent Nealeigh to third with Bruner collecting an RBI with a groundout to short, giving Greenville a 7-0 lead in the second inning.
Valley View got two runs back in the bottom of the second with the third out coming with a Haworth tag at the plate.
Greenville went down in order in the top of the third holding a 7-2 lead.
The Spartans opened the bottom of the third with a single to right. Baumgardner set the next three batters down in order with a fly to Ethan Clark in left, a popup to R. Eldridge at short and a groundout to Ward at third.
Ward drilled a one-out double down the left field line followed with a Nealeigh single putting runners on first and third in the top of the fourth.
A Nealeigh steal of second had runners on second and third with R. Eldridge at the plate hitting a single that scored Ward with Nealeigh going to third.
The umpires called Nealeigh out for interference on the base path, taking the run off the board and sending Ward back to third base with R. Eldridge safe on first.
Bruner drove a shot to deep right-center just glancing off the outstretched glove of the fielder going for a two-base error while scoring Ward for a 9-2 Wave lead.
Haworth blasted a standup triple to deep center field, giving the Wave a 10-2 lead with R. Eldridge crossing the plate.
The bottom of the fourth had Baumgardner setting the side down in order with a first-out fly to Wood in center and back-to-back strikeouts, one swinging and one looking.
With a new pitcher on the mound for Valley View L. Eldridge opened with a single to left, followed with a Clark fielder’s choice with Eldridge out at second.
A speedy Wood laid down a bunt for a single with Ward following with a fielder’s choice. Ward swiped second, putting runners on second and third with two outs.
Nealeigh stepped to the plate, lining a shot back to the pitcher for the third out with the Wave up 10-2.
With coach Blumenstock wanting to give all players a chance to play at Fifth Third Baumgardner’s day on the mound was done, bringing senior Austin Weimer to the mound to pitch the bottom of the fifth.
An opening single to right was followed with a fly to Clark in left and a ground out to Ward at third, throwing to R. Eldridge at short and erasing the lead runner with out No. 2.
A single to right was stranded with R. Eldridge fielding a grounder at short and flipping to Nealeigh covering second for the third out.
“Our defense is going to go with the shortstop,” Blumenstock said. “Ryan Eldridge is making plays, we’re going to win ballgames.”
R. Eldridge led off the sixth inning reaching third on a two-base Spartans’ throwing error.
Back-to-back popups had the Wave facing two outs with Zach Hounshell coming to the plate and taking over in right field. The senior utility player picked up an RBI with a hit scoring Eldridge for an 11-2 lead.
Blumenstock continued to go to his bench, putting Reece Hunt at the catching position and turning the ball over to Cody Preston on the mound.
An opening Valley View walk and a groundout to Ward at third was followed with a Spartans’ one-out triple to right, making the score 11-3.
A Preston strikeout looking and a popup to Nealeigh at second had the Wave shutting the door on the Spartans’ sixth inning.
Clark opened the top of the seventh for the Wave taking first with a hit batsman.
Pinch hitting for Wood, Tyler Netzly picked up a single followed with Nealeigh drilling a two-RBI triple, giving Greenville a double-digit lead at 13-3.
R. Eldridge sent the Wave’s last run of the game home with a sacrifice fly to center, giving Greenville a 14-3 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh.
Haworth was called on to pitch the seventh while moving Nealeigh from second to catcher.
Bailey Haworth was the Wave’s varsity starting catcher his freshman and sophomore years but a serious injury, a torn labrum in his right shoulder, had Haworth on the bench most of his junior year, used only as a pinch hitter and designated hitter late in his junior year.
Haworth underwent surgery in January 2013 and was unable to start throwing until July of last year.
“This is what it is about today,” an admiring coach Blumenstock said when talking about his senior catcher. “Bailey came all the way back and pitched the final inning today to close out the game.”
Haworth, the Wave’s regular catcher, fills in at second base when regular second baseman Colton Nealeigh takes his turn on the mound, and Haworth is always ready to step on the mound when called on to pitch.
In the past two games Haworth has started games at second base and behind the plate, played one inning at first and pitched the final inning against Valley View.
“He (Haworth) can play many positions,” Blumenstock said, “and play them well.”
An opening strikeout looking, an error and Haworth throwing a second strikeout looking had the Spartans down to their last out. A groundout to R. Eldridge at short had the Wave completing a 14-3 win on the Dayton Dragons’ home field.
Greenville’s bats were alive, pounding out 20 hits on the day.
Coach Blumenstock had 21 players in uniform with the varsity, bringing many junior varsity players along to experience a high school game on the Dragons’ field.
“We managed to get 19 players in the game today,” Blumenstock said. “I would have liked to get all 21 players in, but it doesn’t always work out. That’s a lot of players.”