The Greenwood baseball team of a few weeks ago is gone. And that’s actually good news for coach Randy Gardner.
The Bulldogs pounded out 15 hits and received stellar efforts from Ethan Clark and Hayden Harvey to beat Poteau, 11-2, on Monday.
During the first half the year, Gardner wasn’t sure if his team had the hitting to seriously make a state championship type of run. Two weeks later, that question no longer exists.
"Our batting average has probably gone up 40 or 50 points the last two weeks," Gardner said. "We’ve got people that are locked in on the balls and pitches, and actually getting hits with runners in scoring position."
Harvey and Clark each hit two-run homers and Austin Pittman added a three-run home run to provide all the scoring Greenwood (12-6) needed thanks to Harvey and Clark’s work on the mound.
Clark started the game and worked two innings, striking out four, before Harvey came in and pitched the rest of the way. Harvey, like his fellow Crowder College signee teammate Clark, gave up just two hits in five innings out of the bullpen.
With no conference game scheduled for today, Gardner simply wanted Clark to get in some weekly work. He isn’t planning on pitching the senior in the team’s two games this weekend.
"We’ve been blessed that every year I’ve been here, except maybe one, we’ve had two pitchers pretty comparable," Gardner said. "And it didn’t matter whose turn it was to throw. Hopefully we can keep that trend going."
Poteau (21-5) looked like it may match Greenwood’s offensive prowess in the first after a Kade Evans double and a Michael Didway single. But Evans turned third too sharply on the Didway hit and was hung out off third pass when Greenwood hit the cut-off perfectly. Coach Andy Perdue took full responsibility.
"I’ve been hoping we wouldn’t have a letdown (this season) and it finally showed up," Perdue said. "It started off with me there in the first inning when I didn’t get the kid held up and it kind of snowballed from there. It wasn’t our best game. You’ve got to go out and compete and we didn’t do much of that at the plate."
The Pirates’ four hits came with two each in the first and fifth innings. Davey Bullard singled in the fifth and came around to later score on a wild pitch. Tristan Myers also singled and scored on a Kade McMillan groundout in the same inning.
That was the extent of the Poteau damage dealt as Harvey was efficient in his relief work otherwise, striking out seven and walking zero.
Pittman finished 3 for 4, with a homer, single and double and four RBIs.
It’s another step in the right direction for this year’s unusually slow-started Bulldogs, Gardner said.
"Years past, we’ve hit from the beginning of the season and we might have a lull here or there," he said. "But this season, we’re hoping we’re building of it starting slow and maybe hitting our stride at end of the year for once."
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
GREENWOOD 11, POTEAU 2
Greenwood 301 203 2 - 11 15 2
Poteau 000 020 0 - 2 4 0
Clark, Harvey (3) and Nelson; Barcheers, McMillan (4), Hammon (6) and Evans. W – Clark. L – Barcheers HR – Greenwood, Pittman, Harvey, Clark.