Greenville wins with run in last half of 7th

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 10:36 am on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Greenville’s Beth Gantz takes a cut at a pitch during the sixth inning of Monday’s 5-4 win over Forest Hills Eastern. The Yellow Jackets split with Eastern last week on the road.

GREENVILLE — Greenville and Forest Hills Eastern split two softball games last week. Monday’s game between the two O-K Bronze rivals was just as close.

With the game tied 4-4, the Yellow Jackets had a chance to win at home in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the heart of the lineup coming up, the Yellow Jackets were confident they could win the game.

Nikota Howe started the inning by ripping a shot to shortstop that was misplayed by the Hawks.

With Howe on first base, Greenville coach Tom Hallock decided to bunt Liz Niemiec. It turned out to be a great call.

“It was more of a spur of the moment call. Nikota and Lizzy have both been tearing it up hitting the ball,” Hallock said. “I was going to let Lizzy swing away, but I changed my mind. I gave her one strike to swing and then bunted her.”

The bunt was dropped perfectly between the pitcher and first baseman. With Howe on the move, Niemiec hustled down the baseline and forced a wild throw at first base.

The ball bounced into the outfield and Howe flew around the bases to give the Yellow Jackets a 5-4 win at home.

“We had a couple of early season mental mistakes, but outside of that I thought we played OK,” Hallock said. “We were able to execute. We got a couple of bunts down, but also had a couple of baserunning errors that could have cost us. We did run the bases well at the end.”

Both Howe and Niemiec finished with two hits.

Lexii Canterbury earned the win for Greenville. She went all seven innings, allowing six hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Three of those five strikeouts came in the final two innings.

Greenville scored two runs in the first and third innings. Eastern score twice in the second inning and once each in the fourth and fifth innings.

Canterbury shut down the Hawks in the final two innings. Facing just eight batters, Canterbury allowed two singles, but struck out three, while not allowing a run.

“She battled for us. She didn’t have her best stuff and wasn’t feeling great,” Hallock said of Canterbury. “She clutched up after a couple of tough calls and bleeder hits. She beared down and got the outs we needed. That is the growth she has had since her freshman year.”

Greenville improved to 2-1 (2-1) this season.

“I’m very proud of the girls for the way they were able to battle back and not let this one get away,” Hallock said.

The Yellow Jackets are at Cedar Springs for a doubleheader today.

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