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GHS Tigers take area after sweeping Monroe

After losing at home to Monroe last Thursday, the Greenville Tigers hit the road for two chances to settle the score.

The double-header would not only determine the stronger of the two teams, but it also was a battle to name the area champion.

Monroe, who only needed to win once, could not keep the Tigers from winning both games and the area title.

After the end of the first game, GHS’s area hopes were still alive. Josh Ray pitched for the Tigers, giving up 2 hits and no runs. Raymond Moody got one RBI for the game’s only run. GHS won 1-0.

Coach Brad Horn said Monroe nearly tied the game in the seventh.

“We had a pop fly to right field and our player misjudged it,” Horn said. “When he got control of the ball, he threw if to his cutoff man, who then bobbled the ball.”

Monroe saw the error and tried to send a man running towards home plate. Horn said his catcher, Hunter Harrell, caught the ball and buried the runner for the out.

Both teams had less difficulty scoring the second game.

Horn said his team had a comfortable lead by time they got to the fifth inning.

“The score was 8-2 and we were thinking, let’s get this out, get to the next inning and score a few runs and the ballgame will be over,” Horn said.

The Tigers, however, couldn’t wriggle their way out of the fifth inning. They gave up 4 errors, and five runs. Monroe now trailed by only one run.

Horn decided to pull Stewart Moody, who had pitched the previous 5 innings. Before he left the mound he gave up seven runs, though only 2 were earned.

Ozell Carter, a GHS ninth-grader, was sent in to close. Carter gave up a two-run home run to give Monroe the lead for the first time in the game.

At the top of the seventh, Coach Horn found his team in a bad place. There were two outs on the board, and they were one run down.

Nick Davis, GHS’s starting right fielder, made it to first on a walk. Brandon Smith stepped in to run for Davis, who has been battling an injury. Jay Johnson stepped up and hit the very first pitch thrown at him, driving a double to center field to tie the game.

The GHS Tigers stepped up to bat at the top of the eighth to deliver the coup de grace. Ryan Smith doubled followed by a bunt by Nathan Branum. Hunter Harrell slammed a single up the middle and Raymond Moody followed it up with a double. The Tigers scored four runs total to bring the score to 14-9, where it would stay for the rest of the game.

“They didn’t give up,” Horn said. “We could have easily quit when we were down one run in the seventh.”

The win means GHS will host the area tournament on April 16 and 17. The Tigers next game is scheduled for Tuesday against Brantley.