GREENWOOD – Van Buren and Greenwood warmed up for their spring break trips with a long, extra-inning game on March 16.
Bryson Patrick lined a double into the gap in left-center to crack an eighth-inning tie and lead to Van Buren to an 11-8 win in a nonconference game that took 2 hours, 58 minutes.
Van Buren (8-1) heads to Florida early on Saturday morning.
“It’s going to be a long bus ride, but it will be a little better with this win,” Van Buren head coach David Loyd said. “We’ll go down there and enjoy ourselves, and play a lot of ball down there.”
Greenwood (8-3) leaves for Arizona on Sunday.
“We played some good teams this week,” Greenwood head coach Trey Holloway said. “El Dorado was good (on Thursday night). This is one of the better teams on this side of the state in 7A. We would have liked to have pulled this one out. We have three losses on the year and have had four bad innings. After spring break, we won’t have this. We’ll clean those up.”
Friday, Trevor Johnson reached on a two-out error in the top of the eighth to start Van Buren’s game-winning rally. Jackson Hurt singled sharply to left, and Patrick lined a double to deep left centerfield to score courtesy-runner Cooper Johns and Hurt for a 10-8 lead. Seth Humphrey followed with a triple past the right fielder to score Patrick for an 11-8 lead.
“It was a good competitive high school baseball game,” Loyd said. “We’re very fortunate to come out on top.”
Johnson earned the win in his third inning of scoreless relief in the bottom of the eighth.
“It was like a playoff game,” Holloway said. “So much, they wanted to beat us that bad that they threw their No. 1 again 60 pitches after he threw 90 on Monday. I know they want to win, and we want to win as much as anybody. It was a good atmosphere.”
Van Buren batted around in the first inning and scored four runs, but Greenwood battled back with two runs in the third inning and three in the fourth to take a 5-4 lead.
The Pointers countered with three runs in the fifth to take the lead back at 7-5 and added another in the sixth for an 8-5 cushion.
Greenwood tied it with three in the bottom of the sixth.
“They hit us in the mouth, we hit them back, they hit us back, we had our chances, we swung and missed,” Holloway said.
The Bulldogs also had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases but failed to score.
“We’ve got our guys up,” Holloway said. “We had a chance to knock them out and didn’t.”
Van Buren had big contributions from the bottom third of the order with Hurst, Patrick and Humphrey knocking in six runs. In addition to the two runs Patrick drove home with the eighth-inning double, he also scored two with a single to cap the four-run first inning.
“We’re putting the ball into play pretty well, hitting it well but we’ve got some room for improvement defensively,” Loyd said. “If we can do that, we’ll be competitive in our league.”
Evan Jones also drove in two runs for Van Buren with a run-scoring single in the first inning, and a double in the fifth inning to drive in Dakota Peters.
Four Van Buren pitchers combined for the win aided by inning-ending double plays in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Brandon Woolsey drove in half of Greenwood’s run with a double in the third inning to score Colton Sagely and Cooper Passmore, and a single in the sixth inning, which scored Sagely and Peyton Holt.
Holt had two triples for Greenwood.
Van Buren 13, Hamden Hall (Conn.) 2
Van Buren won its first game at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports on Monday by defeating Hamden Hall, Conn. Jones earned the win going five innings with seven strikeouts. Cooper John retired the side out in the sixth by striking out all three batters. Landrey Wilkerson was 3 for 3 and Seth Humphrey drove in three runs.