GREENVILLE – The Greenville Thunder 19U team defeated the visiting Troy Legends 7-1 in Tuesday night league play at Sater Heights Park.
“Troy is a good program,” said Greenville Thunder 19U coach, Chad Henry. “They had a good weekend just like we did. Anytime we go up against each other – it has formed a little bit of a rivalry but they are fun games to be a part of.”
Greenville took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning before the Legends battle back to knot the score at 1-0 in the top of the third where the score would stand through four innings of play.
The local Thunder squad broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth taking advantage of the middle of the lineup to plate 4-runs and lead 5-1 heading to the sixth inning but not before loading the bases in the bottom of the fourth only to come up empty keeping the score tied.
“We challenged them in the huddle,” Coach Henry said of his talk following the fourth inning. “We said all weekend the top of our lineup carried us. We’re not getting production out of the middle, not getting production out of the end, your bats have to wake up here before too long and they really did.”
“They came through, they started working counts, they started setting on pitches they wanted, they sat on the ones they didn’t and it just kind of happened for us,” added Henry.
Greenville added 2-insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth while keeping the Troy Legends off the board in the sixth and seventh innings to earn the 7-1 win over the visitors.
Alex Kolb tossed the first 6-innings, to record the win for the Thunder while Brody Williams was shutting down Troy in the bottom of the seventh to earn the save.
“We had words early on,” Henry said of his young pitcher. “I told Alex, ‘you have to throw first pitch strikes, you have to get ahead and trust your stuff.’ He’s a sophomore and I don’t know if he’s nibbling because he’s scared or he’s just not finding it but once he started focusing and getting ahead of hitters and got his curve ball across for a strike, he looked tremendous. He’s a tremendous pitcher.”
Kolb gave up 1-run, 4-hits, tossed 5-strikeouts and walked 3-hitters over 6-innings. Williams gave up 1-hit and no walks in earning the save.
Jacob Longenecker led the Thunder’s hitting attack going 3-3 including a run scored and 3-RBIs. Tyler Beyke was 2-4 with a walk and 2-RBIs and Reed Hanes went 2-3 with a walk, 1-run and a 1-RBI. Zac Longfellow was 1-2, 2-walks and a run scored, Trent Collins went 1-2 including a double off the top of the left field wall and scored 2-runs. Thunder catcher, Tytan Grote was 1-4 with a run scored and Grant Delk finished the night 1-4.
After opening the 2020 Thunder season with tournament play at Troy’s Duke Park, Coach Henry is pleased with the team’s performance.
“We are still a work in progress,” Henry stated. “We have a good defense, we have some good arms but the bats aren’t there yet and it was to be expected. That was our first weekend because of Covid-19. A lot of programs opened up on Memorial Day but we wanted to try and stay healthy so we pushed it back and I think in the long run it’s going to be better for us.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Alex Kolb picks up the win for Greenville Thunder 19U over the Troy Legends in league play. (Gaylen Blosser photo)