Tiger baseball season swings into play with strong effort against Huntsville
The Green Forest Tiger baseball team started the new season with a new group and a strong effort against the Huntsville Eagles last Thursday, but wound up on the short end of a 6-5 score.
"We were leading 5-4 and had two outs and a 1-2 count in the bottom of the seventh," Coach Tony Coffey said. "Huntsville got a couple of base hits and some walks and won. We could have pulled it out."
Experience would have helped, but as Coffey pointed out, "Of my starters, only three have played in a high school ball game."
Roy Campbell led the team from the mound, going all seven innings while recording 6 strikeouts and 7 walks. That was a lot of pitches for the first game of the season, but Coach Coffey had a reason.
"I've been throwing with Roy since December," Coffey said. "His arm is in the shape other kid's arms will be in in a month.
"I've had eight or nine kids, four or five of our starters, working out since January."
The Tigers took the field with C. J. Matthews catching for Campbell, and Brett Conner on first. Adrian Sanchez played second, Shawn McGill shortstop, Jonathan Bryant third, Derek Hamilton left field, Jesse Gardner centerfield, and Neal McCutcheon right field.
The team has 14 players currently on the roster.
The action took a big Tiger turn in the fourth inning as they trailed 1-0. Campbell took a walk, then Conner smacked a double, scoring Campbell and tieing the game.
Conner made it to third base on two passed balls, then Bryant got a base hit to score Conner, and Green Forest led 2-1.
The Tigers kept it up in the fifth, with Matthews and McGill hitting singles. Campbell took a walk, and the bases were loaded.
It was just what Gardner wanted, as he ripped a 2 RBI single to score Matthews and McGill. It wasn't over, as Campbell advanced home on a passed ball when the Eagles tried to pick Gardner off at second.
Huntsville answered back, scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Tigers were leading 5-3. The Eagles shut the Tigers out in the final two innings, while scoring 3 more runs, two in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"Derek Hamilton hit the ball well," Coach Coffey said. "He's out of basketball and only hit against live pitching one day. Bryant also had a good game at third base."