03/14/07 — Spring Creek plays hard, knocks out Greene Central

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Spring Creek plays hard, knocks out Greene Central

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on March 14, 2007 2:50 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Whether it was first baseman Lucas Potter slamming into the fence to catch a popup or catcher Steven Best getting slammed into by a baserunner -- Spring Creek came to play.

The Gators' hard-nosed play was a big reason why they beat visiting Greene Central 7-5 at the Swamp on Tuesday evening.

"I thought we played hard," said coach Heath Whitfield. "I thought we gave a little bit better effort than they did and we came to play."

Though the Gators played well most of the game, they didn't necessarily play their best during the first inning.

Greene Central raced out to a 2-0 lead thanks to three first-inning errors by the Spring Creek defense. The Rams had a chance for even more, but Marcus Lee fanned with the bases loaded to end the frame.

"Early in the game we scored a couple of runs, but leave the bases loaded and after that, we just kind of felt like we had enough runs," said Greene Central coach Russell Brann.

After plating a run in the bottom of the first thanks to an RBI single by Potter, Spring Creek broke the game open in the bottom of the second.

Anthony Brogden lead off the inning with a single. A sacrifice bunt by Josh Gammon moved Brogden into scoring position.

With two outs, it looked as if Greene Central pitcher Robert Tyndall would escape with minimal damage, but the next six Gator hitters would all reach base via three hits, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and an error to push home five runs.

Potter had the final key hit of the inning, a two-run single that put the Gators up for good at 6-2.

"Give Spring Creek credit -- they played hard," said Brann.

Brogden would make sure the Gators stayed ahead as he shook off a flu bug to pitch four solid innings. He allowed no earned runs on four hits, walked two and struck out five to improve to a perfect 3-0.

"Anthony sucked it up," said Whitfield. "He said he thought he could help us a little bit, so we stuck him out there and he gutted it out."

After failing during the first inning, the Spring Creek defense played sterling baseball the rest of the night -- with the help of two bruising plays.

In the top of the fourth inning with two outs, the Rams had runners on first and third. Brogden stepped off and had Trey Beaman in a rundown, but as he was being chased back to first, Stephen McDonald broke for home. The throw to the plate was in plenty of time and McDonald slammed into Best -- who held onto the ball to tag the runner out.

Then in the seventh inning, Greene Central began to mount a late rally when Will McLawhorn hit a leadoff double. Beaman then hit a popup into foul ground along the first base line that Potter was able to haul in -- despite slamming head first into the chain-linked fence.

With Greene Central later down to its last strike, Chris Leggett hit a two-run double into the gap to make the score 7-5, but Gators' reliever Alex Casey was able to strike out pinch-hitter Ryan Leteworth with the tying-run on base to end the game.

"We were kind of flat until about the sixth or seventh inning," said Brann. "You need to have that energy throughout the game."

Potter went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Ray Grady drew three walks, stole two bases and scored two runs for the Gators (5-1).

McLawhorn had two hits, including a double, stole a base and scored two runs for the Rams (2-4).

"Even though we made some mistakes, both teams gave up a lot of unearned runs, I thought our guys hustled and worked hard," said Whitfield.

Rams 200 000 3 -- 5 7 2

Gators 150 100 x -- 7 8 4

Leading Hitters -- Greene Central -- Will McLawhorn 2-4, 2B, 2 R; Chris Leggett 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Trey Beaman 2-4, 2B, R. Spring Creek -- Lucas Potter 2-4, 3 RBI; Anthony Brogden 1-3, 2B, RBI; Ray Grady 1-1, RBI, 2 R.

DP -- Greene Central 1. LOB -- Greene Central 9, Spring Creek 8. SB --McLawhorn, Casey, Grady (2), Gammon. S -- Rogers, Gammon.


Greene Central

Tyndall (L) 2 6 6 3 1 1

Elmore 4 2 1 1 4 1

Spring Creek

Brogden (W, 3-0) 4 4 2 0 2 5

Casey 3 3 3 1 2 3

WP -- Tyndall. HBP -- Casey (by Tyndall), Gammon (by Elmore).