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

Despite Post 124 rally, Greenwood clinches league

WALHALLA — Letting nine runs cross the plate before the first out was recorded in the third inning on Tuesday night, it would have been easy for the Walhalla American Legion Post 124 baseball team to throw in the towel against Greenwood Post 20.

But despite the overwhelming odds, and the fact Greenwood has had its number all season long, Walhalla decided not to go quietly into the night.

Eventually falling 16-12 in its home finale, Walhalla (5-11) made an interesting game out of it, coming back from a 15-3 deficit with some late rallies, including an eight-run eighth that closed the gap to 15-12.

It still wasn’t enough to prevent Greenwood (13-2) from capturing the League VII championship, though head coach Billy Dean Minor wasn’t exactly resting easy in the late stages at Razorback Field.

“We got out (to a big lead), but Walhalla battled like they always do,” Minor said. “If you look at it, they always play us tough up here.”

That certainly wasn’t a guarantee on Tuesday night in the face of that early deficit, but Walhalla head coach Nick Groomes said his team showed some strong resiliency by continuing to fight.

“They’ve done that all year,” Groomes said. “We got in a big hole early and it was just a little bit too big for us to overcome, but we didn’t quit. We made them play the game the right way and we tried to fight our way back.”

After a Brandon Burton double scored Nate Williamson in the bottom of the first to give Walhalla a 1-0 lead, the game was busted open in the third, just an inning after a double play with the bases loaded ended the Greenwood half of the second.

To open the inning, Christian Powell, who will play at the College of Charleston this fall, hit a routine fly ball into right field, which Williamson lost in the sun, advancing him all the way to third base.

Powell was the first of 11 straight Greenwood batters to come to the plate before an out was recorded, which happened to be a sac fly from Mason Taylor that pushed the lead to 10-1.

A two-run single from Christian Brown in the fourth and a solo home run from Powell in the fifth pushed the lead to 13-1 before Walhalla finally began to rally back into the game.

Thanks to a pair of RBIs from both Matt Crowe and Nate Williamson, as well as one from Kyle Edwards, Walhalla closed the gap to 15-6 by the end of the sixth.

And after loading the bases with no outs in the seventh, with no runs to show for it, Walhalla rallied for eight runs in the eighth, capped by a two-run triple by Jacob Jalbert, who was awarded home on an errant throw on the play.

“Baseball’s a crazy game, because if you get a couple of guys on, all of a sudden you have a rally going and we had our chances and kept putting pressure on them,” Groomes said.

Walhalla, out of the playoff race, will close its season with games on the road on Thursday and Friday, as Groomes hopes his team can continue its late-inning play from Tuesday, which could have easily yielded a win if it wasn’t for the third-inning collapse.

“All three of the games up here have been close,” Groomes said. “For some reason when they come up here, we get a little something about us and play hard. But we just got in too big of a hole to get that win.”

Greenwood 16, Walhalla 12

G 00(10) 212 001 — 16 18 2

W 100 023 060 — 12 20 5

Pitching

IP H R BB K

W — Woolston 6 12 6 2 5

L — Brown 2 10 10 2 1

Hitting

G — Lloyd, 4-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Behrendt, 4-5, 2B, RBI, BB; Brown, 4-5, 2B, 4 RBI, BB

W — Crowe, 5-6, 2 RBI; Skelly, 3-5, 2B

NOTE: Walhalla second baseman Matt Crowe, who went 5-of-6 on Tuesday night, played just one night after learning his father, Wayne Crowe, had passed away from a heart attack. Look for an in-depth story on Crowe’s saga in Thursday’s edition of the Daily Journal / Daily Messenger.