Tigers face near perfection against Greenland
GREEN FOREST -- One day after playing near-perfect in an 8-2 win over West Fork, Green Forest dropped a 4-1 decision to Greenland as the Tigers were three outs away from having a perfect game thrown against them.
Greenland's Darian Froud carried a perfect game into the seventh inning on Wednesday, needing just 62 pitches to cruise through the first six inning. Froud found out why accomplishing the feat was so difficult, issuing a leadoff walk to Treyton Anderson to halt perfection and surrendering an RBI double to Gustin Byers two batters later to spoil the no-hit bid.
"I guess I just got the jitters," Froud said. "I heard the magic words that I had a perfect game going and that got in my brain. I was just trying to get it in the strike zone and let my defense play."
Froud's first pitch to Anderson was above Anderson's eyes for ball one and the right-handed senior ran the count to 2-0 with a ball outside on the second pitch. Anderson fouled the next offering off to run the count to 2-1. But Froud missed the mark on the next two pitches to allow the first baserunner of the game.
"At 3-1 I knew I had to throw a strike and keep this thing going," Froud said. "It felt good leaving my hand but didn't end up where it needed to be. I was like, Oh gosh, I lost it. I had it in my hands and I lost it."
Froud said just being in that situation taught him a lesson.
"It gives me a better appreciation for the guys that do it," he said. "You get maybe two no-hitters in the Major Leagues every year. It takes a lot. It takes a lot physically and mentally."
He attempted to drown out fans, players and coaches as murmurs resonated around Tiger Field.
"My best buddy, Seth Partain, walked up and said, "Hey, you've got a no-hitter going'," Froud said. "I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to think about it. I just wanted to keep throwing."
Green Forest coach Tony Coffey wasn't going to let the moment pass as Froud went out for the final inning.
"I tried to say it as loud as I could as often as I could," Coffey said. "Everybody knew but you have to say it where he could hear it."
Even with the seventh-inning blemish, Froud was solid, striking out nine in the complete-game win.
"We just didn't hit the ball," Coffey said. "But once again, Gus came through. And he came out on the mound and threw strikes. If we are going to go anywhere in the tournament he is going to have to pitch for us."
Byers came on in relief of Anderson, who went five innings, striking out five and walking one. Coffey removed Anderson after an imposed 79-pitch count was reached. Byers allowed a run on one hit a walk and a strikeout.
The Tigers maintained a stranglehold on fourth place in 1-3A Conference with Tuesday's win at West Fork. Green Forest broke the game open in the seventh with a five-run burst to earn the conference victory.
Devin Taylor singled and doubled and drove in two runs to pace the Tigers at the plate. Dalton Ewing doubled while Anderson, Clayton Watson and Gavin Nelson each singled. Nelson drove in a pair while Carl Roberts, Jordyn Mullins and Anderson were credited with an RBI apiece.
Taylor picked up the win, going the distance with five strikeouts and a walk, allowing six hits.
"That was the game we have been looking for all year," Coffey said. "The guys really poured it on in the seventh inning. They smelled blood and they went after it. They kept running bases and being aggressive. That's what we've been waiting for."
The Tigers are now and 2-5 in conference play with next week's conference tournament upcoming. Green Forest is in line to play West Fork next Friday at Tiger Field in a play-in game, a team the Tigers have beaten twice.
"It's hard to beat a team three times in a season," Coffey said.