GREENVILLE — The cold weather has not done a thing to cool the Greenville Yellow Jackets hot start.
On Thursday, the Yellow Jackets knocked out 13 hits — 11 of them over the final three innings — en route to a five inning 13-3 mercy win at home against the Cedar Springs Red Hawks.
The win improved the Yellow Jackets to a perfect 6-0 overall. With three-game sweeps of Forest Hills Eastern and now Cedar Springs, the Yellow Jackets are 6-0 in the O-K Bronze, as well.
Greenville coach Mike Rasmussen said it’s been a great start to the season.
“Our offense is starting to come around. We are getting to that point in the season where the offense is catching up to the pitching,” Rasmussen said. “Our pitching has been really good this year. In all of our games, we have thrown strikes, worked ahead and our defense is picking the ball up behind us.”
Parker Syrjala improved to 3-0 in as many starts. Syrjala went all five innings, allowing eight hits with seven strikeouts.
“He is throwing real well. He is keeping the ball down, working ahead in counts and that is the name of the game,” Rasmussen said. “Today he started establishing some of his off speed pitches. Those will be effective for him this season as it begins to warm up.”
Neither team scored until the third inning.
Cedar Springs started the scoring with back-to-back doubles by Jake Benton and Justin Louck. Louck scored two batters later on a single by Collin Hickok for a 2-0 lead.
“We jumped out to an early lead. Getting hits off him (Syrjala) means a lot to our team and our program,” Cedar Springs coach Steve Saboo said. “We had to have more than two innings of good hitting. We just needed to match them up.”
The Yellow Jackets wasted little time grabbing the lead with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the third inning.
Jacob Crittenden had the big hit, a run scoring double off the fence in right field.
“I thought both teams swung the bats pretty good,” Rasmussen said. “Especially, considering the conditions. The ball flew a little more than I anticipated. It’s nice to get good barrel to the ball. When you do that good things happen.”
Cedar Springs went down in order in the third inning, while the Yellow Jackets tacked on four more runs for an 8-2 advantage.
Max Little started the rally with a leadoff single, while Travis Groom and Caleb Vinton closed the scoring out with back-to-back run scoring doubles. Vinton’s blast was originally ruled a home run off the right field scoreboard, but was changed to a double after a conference by the umpires.
“He really put a charge into it, but it hit the fence,” Rasmussen said. “I think they got the right call. I sure would have liked to see the home run, but those will come.”
Champion drove in one run in the top of the fifth for the Red Hawks to trail 8-3.
Greenville added five runs in the bottom half of the fifth — the final two on a single by Vinton — to end the game. The Yellow Jackets had just two hits in the inning, but took full advantage of walks and errors.
Vinton, Little, Groom, Tyler Orr and Tre Nelson each had two hits. Vinton drove in three runs, while Groom, Orr and Nelson each had two RBI.
Ramussen said his team has played a lot of baseball and it is showing this season.
“The kids have really played a lot of baseball in addition to high school,” Rasmussen said. “The kids have worked with travel programs being exposed to a lot of baseball and that shows when it comes to the high school season.”
Already confident coming into the season, the Yellow Jackets are putting themselves in a position to have an extremely successful season.
“They have high expectations and some lofty goals for themselves,” Rasmussen said. “They are on a mission with good focus and a good demeanor. They are focused, but enjoy the game and that is a good combination to have.”
Prior to the game, Greenville and Cedar Springs continued Wednesday’s suspended game in the sixth inning. The game ended after Cedar Springs batted, giving Greenville the win 13-9.
Greenville will play a single game at Lowell today.