If pouncing on the opponent’s mistakes is a coach’s creed, consider coach Randy Gardner a happy man.
Greenwood scored 12 runs on 11 hits and took advantage of five Coca-Cola errors to cruise to a 12-2 Senior Babe Ruth win against Coca-Cola at Hunt’s Park on Tuesday.
A Bulldog leadoff triple to start the game was a sign of things to come as the Greenwood plated runs in each of the first four innings. The second batter reached on an error, took second base on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single. The third proceeded to take second on throw after his RBI single, third base on the throw and then he scored on a wild pitch.
It was just that kind of game.
Greenwood starter Dylan Montgomery had no such trouble. He didn’t allow his first base-runner until the third and waited until the fourth to give up a base hit. Hyatt and Colby Edwards, who walked, scored with two outs with Cesar Araita reached on an error. He came back one batter later and sat down Max Frazier on three pitches.
Coca-Cola stranded three runners the entire five innings. Greenwood only went down with three batters in order once. The Bulldogs had a shot at huge inning in the fourth when five straight batters reached on four singles and a hit-by-pitch, but a pair of pop outs limited the damage.
Gardner was happy with outcome, but even more thrilled with the execution from an especially young group.
"That game right there, I have three kids going into 11th grade, one going into 10th and everyone else is going into ninth," Gardner said.
Most of the ninth-graders play split-squad with Greenwood’s two Babe Ruth teams. The Bulldogs, both teams combined, play a 44-game schedule in about four weeks.
Both he and Northside coach Brian Fry — who coaches Coca-Cola — use the summer season as an opportunity to take a peek at the up-and-comers, many of which are making their first high school appearance.
That mindset helped take some of the sting out of the one-sided game, Fry said.
"It’s about guys getting at-bats, guys getting innings and just kind of seeing what you have," Fry said. "A lot of these guys weren’t there with you in the spring. You’re just trying bring them along and give them a good start."
Greenwood is just about 10 days removed from a 6A State Championship Game loss to Jonesboro. The Bulldogs lost in the final inning on a wild pitch. Tuesday’s win was a welcome distraction of thought and an opportunity to build toward the next possible championship appearance.
"It’s good. This is really our first real work with them. They don’t know how we do it here, so it’s chance for them to learn so they don’t start from scratch," Gardner said.
Greenwood also took the nightcap of the doubleheader, 5-3.
Senior Babe Ruth Baseball
Greenwood 12, Coca-Cola 2 (5)
Greenwood 342 30 — 12 11 1
Coca-Cola 000 20 — 2 1 5
Montgomery, Higgins (5) and Sagely, Archer; Fuhr, Swaim (2), Beckham (4), and Cross, Araita. W — Montgomery. L — Fuhr.