Greenville rally falls shy, drops sixth straight
Greenville coach Bobby Hughes knew that he would take a few lumps along the way as a first-year coach of the Tigers.
and Hughes indeed have taken their lumps - some deserved and some not so deserved.
The Tigers dropped their sixth straight on Thursday when they failed to drive the game-tying run that was at third base home in a 7-6 setback to Class 1A Brantley. Greenville also allowed Hancock County (Ky.) rally from a 4-0 deficit to win 7-4.
“No one wants to make plays except a couple people right now,” Hughes said. “That's the story with us. Anyone can make a play with no out or one out, but no one wants to make a play in crunch time.”
Not only have the Tigers struggled in the field, they also have been streaky at the plate offensively. Greenville's top four hitters in the lineup were a combined 0-14 against Hancock County, Hughes said.
“When you can't hit, who are you going to beat?” he asked.
Brantley jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning before Greenville's bats could wake up.
Antonio Smith breezed through two batters to open the game, but then the wheels fell off.
Smith was chased after allowing three runs in the opening frame to leave the game in Ethan Mauch's hands.
Mauch held the Bulldogs at bay for the most part until the sixth inning. Brantley then tacked on four more runs on three hits and two Greenville errors.
Trailing 7-0 in the bottom half of the fourth inning, the Tigers' offense finally came alive.
Greenville tacked on two runs in the fourth, another run in the fifth and sixth innings to draw within three runs of the Bulldogs.
The Tigers added two more runs and had the tying run at third, but Brantley closed the door with a strikeout to end the game.
Greenville (8-10) managed just four hits in the game with David Stephenson leading the Tigers by going 2-for-3 with a double. Allen Little and Demarcus Robinson each chipped in with a hit.
Greenville seemed to be poised to break out of its losing slump in the first game of its twinbill on Thursday.
The Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the top half of the fifth inning, but could not hold off a scrappy Hornet squad that was on their way back home from Spring Break.
Hancock County tacked on two runs in the top of the fifth before taking the lead in the top of the sixth inning.
Hancock County plated three runs to take a 5-4 lead that never withered.
While the Hornets' bats began to warm up, Greenville's bats were silent.
After taking a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning, the Tigers were a combined 2-for-11 in the final three innings.
Stephenson, who started the game, showed some signs of fatigue by the fifth inning but Hughes elected to leave his starter on the mound.
“It's not his fault that we lost that game,” Hughes said. “He pitched well the whole game. I wasn't going to take him out when people can't make plays behind him.”
Robinson led the Tigers at the plate going 3-for-3 with a double.
After today's doubleheader with Pike County, the Tigers open their area slate against Carroll-Ozark on Tuesday at Beeland Park.