Green River Pirates finish their season at state with a 1-5 loss to Wayne. Front: Coach Parsons, Keith Clark, Elias Polito, Sarah Swalberg. Back: Caleb White, Jason Johnson, Hayden Pfander, Daniel Hales, Justin Johnson, Holden Marshall, Robert Pitt and Coach Maughn.
Sarah Swalberg at bat.
Jason Johnson looks to steal second.
At the end of the game, sitting on the right field grass, Coach Parsons told Elias Polito that he pitched his best game all year, even considering his no-hitter earlier in the season. He lamented the fact that four of Wayne's runs came off of Green River errors.
Coach Parsons said, "Take away those four unearned runs and it's a one all tied ball game." Such are the words spoken by a coach speaking for the last time to his 2009 baseball team who early in the season had to wonder if they were going to see any post-season play. As the team came together and improved their offense and defense, they ended the regular season with an 11-7 record, earning them second place in region 18 and an opportunity to play at State for the championship.
The game began with Justin Johnson smacking a 1-1 pitch into shallow center field for a base hit. Two batters later, Keith Clark hit a line drive into right field to send Justin to third base. Keith made it to second on a passed ball but the inning was retired with Justin and Keith stranded.
The Wayne Badgers on the other hand came out and scored two quick runs before the end of the first inning, though the Pirates were not fazed. Polito kept his focus on the task at hand the kept the Badgers at bay while the Pirates again put runners in scoring position but were not able to finish.
The second inning remained scoreless as well as the third when the Pirates were able to take care of the Badgers three up and three down but the Badgers turned around and took care of the Pirates in the top of the fourth with three strikeouts. In the fifth inning the Badgers picked up another run and added two more in the sixth.
At the top of the seventh inning the Pirates were down by five and at the bottom of the line up. Daniel Hales made it to first as he watched a 3-1 pitch fly high for a ball. Next, Justin Johnson hit a 3-1 pitch to the second baseman who bobbled it just long enough to allow Hales to get to second and Justin to first. Holden Marshall followed suit by smacking a 2-2 pitch to the short stop who couldn't handle it and boom, the bases are loaded.
Jason Johnson was up next and drilled one to the short stop who again couldn't handle it which allowed Hales to score and for Jason to rest safely on first.
With the Pirates having scored, the tying run is now at the plate with no outs. The Green River crowd was showing their excitement and the Pirate dugout was pumped and noisy but all the excitement in the world won't erase the next three batters who went down swinging.
So, the Green River baseball team who started the year with an 0-5 record turned things around and played at State, just as the team did the year previous but with a much better record. The Pirates entered the game going against a team who twice before had taken it to them with scores of 21-5 and 17-4 but today they were confident and their play and the score reflected a team who didn't just show up to let them walk all over them. No, the Pirates knew they could beat the Badgers and it was there for the taking.