While the season may not have ended as it had hoped, the Greenon High School baseball team reached new heights this season.
Roger Bacon jumped out to a 5-0 lead en route to a 9-2 victory over the Knights in a Division III district final game on Wednesday at Lakota East High School.
»RELATED: Wednesday’s high school roundup
The Knights finished their season 19-7. Greenon won its first league championship in 42 years and advanced to the D-III district final for the first time in recent memory.
“It’s not hit me right now, everything we did accomplish,” said Knights coach Dan Young.
Luke Downing and Nick Hundley each had two hits for Greenon, which had seven hits in the game and left 13 runners on base. The Knights loaded the bases in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings, but weren’t able to bring home runners in scoring position.
“I felt like we battled,” Young said. “Through four innings, it was 1-0 until they got that big inning. … We had the bases loaded several times and couldn’t get that big hit.”
There were plenty of jitters for the Knights. Young isn’t sure if the program had ever advanced to the district tournament.
“I felt we were so wild that we were a little bit tight,” Young said. “We hit so many batters that our fielders stayed in the field so long every inning. I know the first few innings we held them to one run and they had the bases loaded almost every inning. It really affected our fielding. We field better when we play fast and that hurt us. We were a little nervous and they’re more experienced than we are.”
Roger Bacon scored in the bottom of the first inning to make it 1-0. The Spartans (15-9) threatened in the second and third innings, but the Knights were able to work out of both jams.
Bacon finally broke through with four runs on four hits that were aided by two Greenon errors to make it 5-0.
The Knights scored two in the top of the fifth inning to make it a 5-2 game, including RBI singles by Roger Bacon countered with four runs in the sixth to increase their lead to 9-2.
Greenon loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but couldn’t bring home any more runs.
“We could’ve thrown the towel in and we didn’t do that,” Young said. “I’m really proud of them.”
Greenon also struggled defensively, tallying six errors in the game.
“We had a few too many errors,” said senior Nick Traylor. “There were a lot of jitters.”
The team will graduate two seniors, Hundley and Traylor. They know the junior class will keep the team rolling next spring. They’ll look to defend their Ohio Heritage Conference South Division title.
“I’m looking forward to watching those young guys keep the legacy going,” Traylor said.
Hundley had a simple message for his teammates: keep grinding in the weight room.
“Give it all you’ve got all the time,” he said. “You never know what that last rep is going to come in handy.”
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