Last Tuesday, April 1, Northside’s Grady Coleman refused to let one bad play ruin his day.
The Grizzlies’ pitcher overcame a botched play at third base and, after his team rallied for five runs in the fourth inning, retired the final 10 batters he faced as Northside clipped Greenwood, 6-2, at Hunt’s Park for its first 7A/6A-Central win of the season.
"That shows how mentally tough he is," Northside coach Brian Fry said. "He got up there, kept throwing strikes and let the guys play behind him. That’s a great asset that he has."
Greenwood (5-9, 2-1) took a 2-1 lead in its half of the fourth when Northside third baseman Christian Neves failed to flag down catcher Kyle McDonald’s throw that should have resulted double play. The ball glanced off Neves’ glove and Michael Rhea and Hunter Cardwell raced home for a 2-1 Greenwood lead.
Northside (3-5, 1-3) immediately responded with Neves starting a five-run fourth by singling on the first pitch he saw from Greenwood pitcher Chris Sunde — a flare to left that dropped in front of Jonathan Clemons. Evan Rollans then hit a rocket that shortstop Garrett Smith mishandled for an error. Garrett Christian, who failed at first to lay down a sacrifice bunt, instead singled to center to tie the game at 2-2.
Then, the wheels came off for the Bulldogs. Two consecutive errors produced two runs and McDonald’s two-out bloop single glanced off the glove of Rhea which allowed two more to score.
"Actually, the pitching that inning wasn’t that bad — it wasn’t five-runs bad, it was two-runs bad," Greenwood coach Randy Gardner said. "For us, there seems to be one inning every game that gives us trouble. That one inning, we gave them six outs."
Given a four-run lead, Coleman did the rest by retiring the final 10 hitters he faced and striking out the side in the seventh.
"The last two games we’ve had, we’ve lost by a run, so we’ve been preaching … let’s finish one," Fry said. "Grady coming out and striking out the side in the seventh was a testament to how hard he’s been working."
Coleman struck out nine, walked two and allowed just four hits.