GREENVILLE – The Greenville varsity baseball team showcased 10 seniors on senior night to defeat the visiting Piqua Indians 9-0 Monday.
“The best game we have played all year … defense, offense, pitching, everything altogether,” Greenville head varsity coach and Greenville alum Eric Blumenstock said. “Made some great plays on defense. We hit the ball hard and did a lot of things right. Couldn’t ask for more.”
“I don’t know how better you could write a script as far as senior night goes,” Greenville assistant varsity coach and Chicago native Chris Ward said. “A real close game in the beginning then they blew it wide open. All the seniors were able to bat at least once. Everyone did really well.”
Wave senior Austin Baumgardner took the mound, getting first inning outs with a fly to Quinton Wood in center, a shoestring catch in left from senior Ethan Clark and out No. 3 coming with a Baumgardner strikeout.
Greenville got two-out singles to right from seniors Colton Nealeigh and Ryan Eldridge only to be stranded with the game scoreless after one.
The Indians opened second inning play with a single to center. An attempted steal of second had Wave senior catcher Bailey Haworth throwing a strike to second, nailing the Piqua runner with the first out of the inning.
A groundout to Nealeigh at second and a Baumgardner strikeout had the Indians going three-up three-down with the Wave coming to the plate.
Haworth reached first by way of a Piqua error to open the bottom of the second followed with Logan Eldridge reaching on a fielder’s choice. A strikeout had Greenville looking at two outs with a runner on first.
Senior right fielder Ethan Clark reached first with Piqua’s second error of the inning, bringing Wood to the plate and taking a walk loading the bases with two outs.
Senior third baseman Cole Ward drilled an 0-2 pitch to center, collecting two RBI and giving the Green Wave a 2-0 lead with Piqua coming to the plate in the top of the third.
Baumgardner kept the Indians off the third inning board with an opening strikeout looking, Ward fielding a bunt from third for out No. 2 and Baumgardner throwing his second strikeout of the inning.
The Wave faced two outs with no one on in the bottom of the third with Haworth at the plate lashing a double to deep right followed with L. Eldridge reaching by way of a hit batsman.
Senior designated hitter Zach Hounshell ripped a two-strike pitch to left, scoring Haworth with the Wave taking a 3-0 lead to the fourth inning.
Piqua got an fourth inning-opening single off the bat of its cleanup hitter followed with a grounder to Ward at third, throwing to Nealeigh covering second for out No. 1.
A strikeout looking from Baumgardner and a groundout to R. Eldridge at short kept the Wave’s shutout intact.
Nealeigh drove a two-out double down the left field line for the Wave’s lone fourth inning hit with the teams going to the fifth inning with the home team up 3-0.
Groundouts to Nealeigh at second, Ward at third and R. Eldridge at short had to Wave quickly back at the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
The Wave’s big inning came in the bottom of the fifth with six runs crossing the plate after two outs.
An opening popup, a walk to Haworth, a Logan Eldridge single to center and a popup at second had runners on first and second with two outs.
Clark drove a single to left scoring Haworth with the Wave’s fourth run following with a walk to Wood loading the bases and bringing a Piqua pitching change.
Batting in the two hole, Cole Ward stepped to the plate and drilled a single to center, collecting two RBI with a third runner scoring by way of a misplay on the ball to clear the bases with Ward landing on second and the Wave up 7-0.
Nealeigh followed with a home run over the left field wall, plating Ward ahead of him with Greenville taking a commanding 9-0 lead after five.
A groundout to R. Eldridge at short, a Baumgardner strikeout and Haworth making a big league catch against the screen behind the plate had the Indians down in order in the top of the sixth.
The Wave stranded two sixth inning singles to center off the bats of Z. Hounshell and Clark heading to the final inning of play.
Piqua opened the seventh inning with a single to left followed with two fielder’s choice groundouts to R. Eldridge at short throwing to Nealeigh at second for the force.
A two-out single had two Piqua runners on with Baumgardner throwing his seventh strikeout of the game to complete the senior night shutout at Sater Park.
“Ten seniors,” Blumenstock said. “It’s a good group of kids. It will be sad to see them go. We have a while yet. We have seven or eight tournament games to play still, so we have plenty of time.”
“I’ve known almost all these kids since they were 9,” coach Ward said. “I coached them in little league. The core of the team was from 9 years on and I have had the pleasure of being the assistant varsity coach the past couple of years with these kids.”
Nealeigh led the Wave with three hits including a home run with Ward collecting four RBI on two singles.