GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets softball team found itself in an early hole.
Fortunately, the Yellow Jackets continued to battle and found a way to pull out a 7-6 O-K Bronze win at home against the Forest Hills Eastern Hawks on Wednesday night.
“It was exciting. We like to keep it exciting,” Greenville coach Morgan Martin said. “I was glad we kept our composure and battled back the entire way. It was nice to end on that note for our seniors.”
After a scoreless first inning, the wheels sort of fell off for the Yellow Jackets in the second inning.
Eastern score five times on two hits, three walks and three hit batters. It was a struggle for senior starting pitcher Nikota Howe.
“She hadn’t pitched in a few weeks,” Morgan said of Howe. “We thought we would try it being a conference game, against a tough team, but she struggled and we had to put Sarah (Newhouse) in.”
Offensively, the Yellow Jackets were struggling just as much with just one hit (Howe) through the first three innings. Eastern pitcher Lauren Kanai faced the minimum nine batters in the first three innings and was cruising along.
Newhouse replaced Howe with two outs in the third inning and retired the first five hitters through the fifth inning, allowing just one hit.
Greenville got its bats going in the fourth inning and took advantage of mistakes by Eastern to bring five runs across the plate to tie the game 5-5 after four innings.
Devon Tate, Beth Gantz and Alecia Moore had hits. Newhouse, Moore and Emily Schnepp had RBIs.
“We played a lot of small ball and tried to attack their young defense,” Morgan said. “We are pretty good at putting the ball where we want it and it worked for us.”
With one out in the fifth inning, Kanai tripled for Eastern and scored one hitter later to give the Hawks a 6-5 advantage.
Trailing again, the Yellow Jackets responded with a run of their own in the sixth inning. Lauren Walsh led the inning off with a single, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Tate and scored on a single by Howe to even the score 6-6.
Greenville’s defense held the Hawks scoreless in the sixth inning throwing runners out at second and third base.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Tate reached base on a error to start the inning. Howe singled and Tate advanced to third base.
That’s when things got interesting.
With no outs, Howe continued on the base path toward second base. Eastern’s defense forgot about Tate at third and went after Howe in a rundown. Tate scored easily giving the Yellow Jackets a 7-6 victory.
“That was Nikota’s game and base running experience,” Morgan said. “She knows the game very well to draw that throw. I sent Devon with her speed and she scored for the win.”
Newhouse earned the win in 4.1 innings of work. She allowed three hits, one walk and one run.
“She (Newhouse) struggled on Monday, but came back today focused and ready,” Mordan said. “She wanted it. You could tell in her eyes and it was nice to see.”
Howe finished with three hits. Tate score two runs for the Yellow Jackets.
Kanai went all seven innings allowing eight hits, no walks and seven runs.
Greenville completed the sweep in game two with a 10-5 win.
Moore earned her first career win on the mound in four innings of work. She allowed two hits and two earned runs. Newhouse picked up the save.
Greenville (15-15, 7-7) had 18 hits in game two. Schnepp led with four hits. Elizabeth Niemiec, Gantz and Tate each had three hits, while Howe had two hits.
The Yellow Jackets have a single game today at Eastern. They will also finish the final three innings on an incomplete game against Forest Hills Norther to finish the conference season.