Southside appeared to have all the momentum heading into Tuesday’s 7A/6A-Central clash with Greenwood.
But Greenwood’s Jake Herrel worked out of a no-outs, bases-loaded jam as the Bulldogs snapped a four-game losing streak with an 8-7 win at Forsgren Field.
“When it’s Greenwood and Southside, I don’t think it matters — you’re going to get the same amount of intensity,” Greenwood coach Randy Gardner said. “We had been struggling. We had lost four games in a row … we hadn’t pitched good or hit good. We had some meetings amongst players and coaches and it seemed to work.”
The Rebels came into the game after snapping Tulsa Bishop Kelley’s 38-game winning streak last week and then shutting out Fayetteville, 1-0, behind Ty Harpenau’s complete-game gem. But against Greenwood, Southside pitchers allowed eight runs and 14 hits.
Trailing 8-5 entering the seventh, the first five Southside hitters reached. With the bases loaded and two runs already home, Herrel got Tyler Gray to hit a weak grounder back to the mound for a pitcher-to-catcher-to-first double play. Herrel then retired Tanner Wiley on a grounder to first to preserve the victory.
“They were playing back and if we hit it anywhere but the pitcher we’re probably in pretty good shape right there,” Southside coach Craig Jones said. “Their catcher did a really good job, because it was a high throw, and he had to come down and make a throw.”
Southside (5-4, 1-1) took a 4-1 lead after an inning on Gray’s RBI single and Jorden Lawrence’s two-out, three-run double. Kory Pollard’s solo homer in the third gave the Rebels a 5-3 lead.
But Greenwood knocked Gray out in the fifth on RBI singles by Ty Wyckoff and Jake Freeman. Then Tanner Chapple’s one-out RBI single snapped the tie in the sixth.
Winning pitcher Chris Sunde struck out just two, but retired 12 consecutive Rebels heading into the seventh before a bloop single and a walk seemed to wake up Southside.
“He had us popping up all day long,” Jones said. “We never really made adjustments until the end. You have to give them credit, they came out and swung the bats today.”
Drew Person singled to open the seventh and Andrew Barley coaxed a walk. Brennan Dooly reached on an error to load the bases, and Mark Clark and Pollard followed with RBI singles to cut the lead to one.
Herrel then got three quick outs to preserve the win.
“This is a whole new crew, it took half of our season to figure it out last year,” Gardner said. “Once we got it, we were pretty good. That’s what we’re hoping from this team.”