Greenville edges McKenzie in opener

Published 1:59 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Greenville Tigers are starting the 2014 baseball season off on the right foot, thanks in no small part to a complete game from pitcher Colby Booker, to edge out McKenzie 4-1 on the road in Friday’s season opener.

Booker stifled McKenzie’s offense, tallying eight strikeouts while only giving up two hits and one unearned run. He also went 3-for-4 at the plate with two singles and a double.

Greenville High School head baseball coach John Jones said that though nerves played a factor early on in the first two innings, his team came together as a unit.

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“The guys had a little case of the jitters, being the first game and on the road, so it was a little shaky at the beginning,” Jones said. “But the boys calmed down and Booker really hit his groove around the third or fourth inning on the mound, and the defense played well behind him. We still have some stuff we definitely need to work on, but it was a nice for the guys to get a taste of victory at the beginning of the season. Hopefully, it’ll make them hungrier to work even harder.”

Greenville was 10-for-32 at the plate, with contributions from senior Michael Smith, who went 2-for-4 with a single, a home run and two RBIs.

Sophomore Devin Middleton went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, and freshman Joseph Price came up with a big pinch-hit single that plated a run.

Jones contributed the early success to the chemistry his team worked hard to build in the offseason.

“We preach family atmosphere, we work together and we have each other’s backs, no matter what,” Jones said. “That’s one thing I was looking for as a coach — how would they react to adversity?  If somebody made a mistake, would they pick each other up?  They all had each other’s backs and nobody ever got down.  Everybody stayed in the game, and it was good to see them work together to get that victory.”

The Tigers played McKenzie again at home on Tuesday. Results were unavailable at press time.

Greenville will face Central Hayneville at home on Thursday. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.