on May 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Shaky start doesn’t slow Seneca against Red Raiders

SENECA — With the thought of all he has done for his team this season weighing on his mind, Jordan McNeely was feeling the heat when the playoffs opened at home on Thursday against Greenville.

Bearing the full brunt of the pressure of Seneca High School’s first opening-round home playoff game since the 1999 season, McNeely hit three batters in the first inning and walked in a run for a less than auspicious start.

And after carrying a 6-1 record and a 1.02 ERA into the game, McNeely’s opening-inning effort shook more than a few nerves in the Seneca dugout.

“Jordan has been a huge part of our success, and when he was off tonight, we as coaches were worried,” Seneca head coach Andy Bay said.

But even though McNeely allowed nine Red Raider batters to reach base without a hit, he managed to hold them to just two runs on three hits, as Seneca went on to the 7-2 victory in its first opening-round playoff win since the 2005 season.

The eventual feel-good win should give the Bobcats (16-4) some momentum heading into tonight’s second-round game at Eastside, after McNeely said he came out jittery from the outset against Greenville.

“I felt like I owed a lot to this team as hard as we’ve all worked and I just wanted to do my best,” McNeely said. “Obviously that wasn’t the right thought process, but I’m working on it.”

While he allowed a pair of Greenville runners on base in the second, third and fourth innings, McNeely did enough to keep the Red Raiders’ lead at 1-0 before Seneca finally found its offense in the fourth.

The Bobcats managed to load the bases with no outs, and after a groundout that saw Matt Crowe tagged out at home plate, Carson Lecroy was walked to plate McNeely and tie the game at 1-1.

Sophomore Tyler Cannon then came up with a sacrifice fly to give the Bobcats the lead at 2-1, which in turn loosened up McNeely.

“A lot of pressure came off when we went up 2-1, and I just decided to go back to the basics,” McNeely said. “I knew if I couldn’t throw strikes, then I wasn’t worth anything.”

With their pitcher back at full strength, the Bobcats’ bats followed suit in the in the fifth yet again as they plated five runs — a far cry from when it took Greenville just three pitches to retire the Bobcats in the bottom of the first.

“It was the same thing,” Bay said. “I think offensively we were too fired up. We were just trying to make too much happen too quick. Once we settled down, we were okay.”

Crowe and Lecroy both came up with RBI singles in the fifth, while catcher Tripp Ross added a sacrifice fly for an RBI.

Out of the eighth spot in the order, Cannon drove the final nail into Greenville’s coffin when he smacked a two-run double into centerfield for a 7-1 advantage.

With McNeely taking a spot in the outfield tonight, the Bobcats will start Ross on the mound tonight when they travel to Eastside at 6:30 p.m.

Seneca 7, Greenville 2

GHS 100 001 0 — 2 3 4

SHS 000 250 x — 7 8 3

Pitching

IP H R BB K

W — McNeely (7-1) 7 3 2 6 4

L — Reynolds 4.2 7 7 3 2

Hitting

GHS — Langley, 2-3, BB; Reynolds, 1-4

SHS — Cannon, 2-2, 2B, 3 RBI; Crowe, 2-4, RBI; Jalbert, 2-4