GREEN RIVER – There have been huge strides made in a one-year span for the Green River Knights Legion baseball team since head coach Ben Lail has taken over. The Knights started a 10-game winning streak in early June and had a chance to keep rolling Sunday at home.
It was a double-header against Lovell, and even though Green River had a real test in the opener, it managed to make it 12 games in a row with two more wins. The Knights missed out on a couple big chances in the first game, but a strong pitching performance pushed them to the 5-4 victory. The bats came alive a little more in the second game, as the Knights ran away with a 9-3 win to complete the sweep.
GREEN RIVER 5, LOVELL 4
Green River didn’t waste any time jumping out to a lead Sunday morning, scoring two runs in the first and third inning to make it 4-1. The Knights added another run in the bottom of the fourth, but the rest of the game was a battle as they had to hold off Lovell for the 5-4 win.
Lovell grabbed the 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning due to a wild pitch, but other than that Ramsay Taliaferro had a rock-solid game on the mound.
A walk to Jax Peterson and Joseph Schultz put the Knights in business when it was their turn at the plate. Peterson made it all the way around the base path on his own, as he stole second and third before scoring on a wild pitch. That put Schultz on second, and Jace Griffiths quickly singled to drive him in for the 2-1 lead.
Green River picked it up back up after a scoreless second inning, as Korbin Serrano drew a leadoff walk to get things started. Two-straight strikeouts put a little pressure on the Knights, but an error on Michael Richardson’s grounder opened the door for Serrano to come around and score.
The lead grew to 4-1 a couple batters later, as a single by Taliaferro moved Richardson over to third, and then another error allowed him to score. Green River’s final run of the game came in the bottom of the fourth when Dom Kunkle singled and later scored on a groundout by Schultz.
Meanwhile, Taliaferro had pitched three-straight hitless innings entering the fifth, but Lovell finally got to him again. He almost got out of a bases-loaded jam with just one out, but a catcher’s error allowed the second run of the game to make it 5-2.
It looked like the Knights were going to run away with the game in the bottom of the fifth, as they loaded the bases with no outs, but they came up empty during three-straight at-bats. Things became very interesting in the top of the sixth when Lovell scored on a single and a dropped third strike to close the gap to 5-4.
Green River couldn’t extend the lead in the bottom of the sixth, but Taliaferro gutted out three more outs to secure the win. He finished with seven strikeouts and just one earned run during his seven innings of work.
GREEN RIVER 9, LOVELL 3
The Knights used a huge third inning to lead them to victory in the second game. After two scoreless innings to open the contest, they scored four in the third and three more in the fourth inning to break the game wide open. Lovell got on the board in the fifth inning with three runs, but that was its only damage, as Green River scored two more to seal the 9-3 victory.
The Knights missed a big opportunity in the second, leaving the bases loaded, but they took full advantage of their runners in scoring position in the third. Lovell helped out a lot by walking two batters and hitting another to quickly load the bases before a passed ball allowed Serrano to score the first run of the game.
Marcos Molina came up with the first hit of the inning, lining a double into left field to drive in Schultz and Richardson. That ended up being the only hit of the four-run inning. An error on Dallan Serrano’s bunt pushed yet another run across to push the lead to 4-0.
The advantage continued to grow an inning later, as a single by Griffiths drove in Serrano and Schultz with one out. Griffiths later scored on another wild pitch in the final at-bat of the fourth, which put Green River in total control at 7-0.
While the Knights weren’t at the plate, Kunkle was having a terrific start to the game on the mound. The only hit he surrendered through four innings was during the very first first at-bat of the contest, but Lovell finally gave him some issues in the fifth to score its only three runs.
Green River did a good job of stopping the momentum, though, scoring two more in the bottom of the fifth to seal the win. A sacrifice fly by Schultz drove in Tayler Jensen for the eighth run before Griffiths came up with yet another RBI to push the lead all the way to 9-3.
Griffiths ended up with three RBIs, while Molina had two and Schultz had one. Peterson pitched the final two innings to finish off the victory.