After a rough 5-13 regular season, the Manchester Greyhounds baseball squad began postseason action last Saturday morning. That record earned them a No. 10 seed in the Southeast District Division IV Tournament and a trip to Eastern Pike to face the No. 7 seeded Eagles. That trip proved to be a fruitful one as the underdog Greyhounds rode another outstanding pitching performance by sophomore Sean Frost to win their first tournament contest, blanking the Eagles on the Eastern home field 5-0.
For Frost, it was his second shutout in succession as his final regular season outing was a 3-0 whitewash of Peebles. On Saturday, Frost was superb, allowing just three hits and fanning 11 hitters as he extended his scoreless inning streak to 17.
“Sean is just getting better and better each time he steps on the hill,” said Manchester head coach Kyle Brewer. “Our team has totally matured from the beginning of the season until now and we are starting to understand the importance of defense and timely hitting when we need it.”
The Hounds got the only run they actually needed in the top of the first inning. Frost led off the game with a line drive single to center and promptly stole second and third. The Manchester pitcher came home one out later when a ground ball off the bat of Mason Applegate was booted, giving the Hounds the 1-0 advantage.
After Frost struck out the side in the bottom of the first, the Greyhound lead doubled in their second at-bat. With one out, Colton Thornburg doubled to center and easily waltzed home when the next hitter Cole Hensley blasted a triple to right. The Hounds hit a little bad luck when the next hitter, Rickey DeAtley, was at the plate. The first pitch to DeAtley was wild and Hensley tried to score, but found his path to the plate blocked by the Eastern catcher, resulting in a collision. Hensley was ruled out but worst of all was ejected from the game for running into the catcher, thereby costing the Hounds one of their big bats for the remainder of the contest and the next two games.
“We unfortunately lost one of our better hitters during the game on a close play at home,” said Brewer. “However, Ryan Dryden came right in and filled the void by fielding the ball great and putting the ball in play at the plate.”
The score remained at 2-0 until the Manchester half of the fourth when the Hounds tacked on one more. Nick Hoskins began the frame with a base on balls, swiped second, and went to third on an overthrow. A ground out to second by Bryan Young got Hoskins across and gave the Hounds a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles managed a couple of runners in the bottom of the fourth, but Frost got a called third strike to go his way to get out of trouble. In the top of the fifth, his offense went to work again. DeAtley began the inning with a double to right followed by a walk to Frost, with DeAtley stealing third. A ground out by Hunter Conley produced a run and Frost raced home on a wild pitch to make it 5-0 Greyhounds and put the home team in a huge hole that they weren’t going to climb out of.
With the big lead, it was up to Frost to finish off the Eagles and he did just that. In the bottom of the fifth, the Eagles got a two-out base hit but the next hitter was again called out looking to end the inning. Eastern got a runner on a walk in the sixth but he went no further and in the bottom of the seventh, Frost retired the home team in order in quick fashion, garnering his 10th and 11th strikeouts of the game as the Greyhounds celebrated a sectional semi-final win by the final count of 5-0.
“I was very pleased with our performance all throughout the game,” said Coach Brewer. “Everyone had a hand in getting this win.”
“At the beginning of the year, we came up with our team motto of ‘One Team, One Mission’ and they are certainly playing like they are on a mission right now.”
Frost got the complete game, shutout win, giving up just the three hits, walking four, and whiffing 11. The Greyhound offense took advantage of Eastern fielding miscues to score three unearned runs on just five hits.
(The mission for the Hounds continued in a big way on Tuesday afternoon as they upset the No. 2 seed Portsmouth Notre Dame Titans 3-2 to win the school’s first sectional championship in five years. They will be back in action on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at Chillicothe Paints Stadium in the district semi-finals where they will face the Racine Southern Tornadoes. Look for full reports on both of those games in future issues of The People’s Defender.)
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.
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Manchester Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Frost 3-2-1-0, Conley 4-0-1-0, Applegate 3-0-0-0, Brummett 3-0-0-0, Hoskins 1-1-0-0, Young 3-0-0-1, Thornburg 3-1-1-0, Hensley -0-1-1, Dryden 2-0-0-0, DeAtley 3-1-1-0, Team 26-5-5-2.
Extra-Base Hits: Thornburg 2B, DeAtley 2B, Hensley 3B
E. Pike Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Hesson 3-0-0-0, Adams 2-0-0-0, Creech 2-0-0-0, Fultz 2-0-1-0, Ealer 3-0-1-0, martin 3-0-0-0, Rapp 1-0-0-0, A. Creech 2-0-0-0, Cantrell 3-0-0-0, Sanderson 1-0-1-0, Team 22-0-3-0.
Manchester Pitching: Frost (W) 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 11 K, 95 pitches
E. Pike Pitching: Rapp (L) 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 65 pitches
Hesson 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 Bb, 1 K, 35 pitches