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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Green Machine

  • Like a well-oiled machine, the Greers Ferry 14U Eagles keep churning out high productivity. After capturing the USSSA state championship on May 19 in Conway, the Eagles wrapped up league play with a 9-4 comeback victory over the Heber Springs Dirtbags  Thursday at Greers Ferry City Park.

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  • Like a well-oiled machine, the Greers Ferry 14U Eagles keep churning out high productivity. After capturing the USSSA state championship on May 19 in Conway, the Eagles wrapped up league play with a 9-4 comeback victory over the Heber Springs Dirtbags Thursday at Greers Ferry City Park.
    Trailing 4-2 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, Greers Ferry snatched its first lead when Hayden Gilmore ripped an in-the-park homerun to right field that scored three runs and the Eagles added three more in the sixth before time ran out.
    Greers Ferry enters this week’s USSSA district tournament in Clinton with a record of 22-2. The Eagles only two losses came early in the season at the hands of district foes Quitman and Clinton.
    In the 12-team USSSA state tournament, the Eagles defeated the Vilonia Prodigies 9-4 and Arch Street Express 8-1 before opening bracket play with an 8-0 win over the Vilonia Razors. Greers Ferry then beat the Vilonia Eagles 7-5 in the semifinals and the Arkansas Tusk of Beebe 4-2 in the championship.
    The Eagles got off to a slow start on Thursday.  Heber took the lead with two runs in the top of the first as  Carter Kelley reached on a wind-blown pop-up that fell harmlessly in shallow right field and Jordan Adkins reached on an error, sending Kelley to third.
    After Adkins swiped second, Caleb Payton drove home Kelley with an RBI groundout to Blaine Hipp at shortstop. Trey Adams added an RBI groundout to first base, scoring Adkins as the Dirtbags took a 2-0 lead before Gilmore, Greers Ferry’s starting pitcher, escaped further damage by working around consecutive walks, leaving one runner stranded in scoring position.
    Left-hander Devin Taylor got the start on the mound for Heber and tossed a scoreless bottom half, pitching around one-out singles by Dalton Treece and Mason Treece, who both moved into scoring position on a Gilmore groundout. But, Taylor retired Gage Hewitt on a grounder to Trey Adams at shortstop, leaving two runners stranded in scoring position.
    Gilmore blew away the Dirtbags in the second, striking out the side with relative ease but the Eagles went down in order in the bottom half as Taylor notched a pair of strikeouts.
    Gilmore pitched around a two-out error that allowed Payton to reach safely in the top of the third, retiring Adams on a grounder to Hewitt at second base.
    Greers Ferry tied the game with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the third, starting when Osten Stenger beat out a chopper in front of the plate for an infield single. Stenger moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single from Hipp, who found a hole on the left side and advanced to second on Heber’s throw to the plate.
    Page 2 of 2 - Dalton Treece laced a bad-hop RBI single past third base and into left field, plating Hipp as the Eagles tied the game at 2-all before Taylor sat down three straight, aided by a nice play from Kelley, who ranged up the middle to make a play on a ground ball.
    Gilmore pitched around two walks in the top of the fourth as he eventually struck out the side, leaving runners stranded at first and second. But, Taylor worked out of trouble in bottom half as Payden Stewart poked a single to right field and Tanner Sawrie reached on an error before Kelley ran down a pop-up and touched second to double off Stewart.
    Kelley then took care of Stenger’s bouncer to second as the two Cleburne County teams remained tied entering the top of the fifth.
    Facing relief pitcher Dalton Treece, Heber reclaimed the lead in the fifth, beginning when Kelley drew a one-out walk. Down 0-2 in the count, Adkins battled back and eventually walked then Payton reached on a throwing error, which loaded the bases for Adams, who lined out to Gilmore at third.
    With two down and the bases still loaded, Tanner Rackley worked a full-count RBI walk, scoring Kelley as the Dirtbags took as 3-2 lead and Greers Ferry opted to relieve Dalton Treece with Hipp. After issuing a walk to Taylor, whose RBI scored Adkins and gave Heber a two-run cushion, Hipp avoided further trouble with a strikeout.
    In the bottom of the fifth, the ‘Green Machine’ showed its mettle, scoring three runs on two hits, starting when Hipp reached on an error. Following a Dalton Treece walk, Mason Treece lined an RBI double into left center, scoring Hipp as the Eagles tied the score at 4-all.
    Gilmore’s in-the-park homerun, which sailed over the right fielder’s head and to the fence, gave Greers Ferry the lead for good as Dalton Treece and Mason Treece scored along with Gilmore for a 6-4 advantage. Taylor closed out the frame by inducing three straight groundouts.
    Hipp held the Dirtbags in check in the top of the sixth by retiring the side in order, including two strikeouts and Greers Ferry closed the game with three runs on one hit in the bottom half.
    Following a strikeout notched by Adkins – Heber’s relief pitcher ­– pinch-hitter Zach Depriest walked before Adkins retired Hipp on a pop-up to second. Dalton Treece then reached on a high pop-up that was mishandled in the outfield and Mason Treece belted a single up the middle.
    Gilmore followed with a fly-ball to right field that was misplayed, allowing Depriest to score along with the Treece twins as time ran out with the Eagles pulling away.
     
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