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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Greers Ferry shows grit in winning district title

  • With their backs against the wall, the Greers Ferry 14U Eagles showed why they are state champions.

    Clinton’s Bush Hogs knocked Greers Ferry out of the winners’ bracket on Saturday but the gritty Eagles battled back with three consecutive wins to claim the USSSA District championship, which culminated with a 10-9 thriller over Clinton that ended late Tuesday night.

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  • With their backs against the wall, the Greers Ferry 14U Eagles showed why they are state champions.
    Clinton’s Bush Hogs knocked Greers Ferry out of the winners’ bracket on Saturday but the gritty Eagles battled back with three consecutive wins to claim the USSSA District championship, which culminated with a 10-9 thriller over Clinton that ended late Tuesday night.
    After defeating Rose Bud 15-0 on Monday, the Eagles (26-3) beat Clinton twice on Tuesday, 8-3 and 10-9, to claim the championship.
    Greers Ferry forced a winner-take-all championship with its 8-3 victory in Game 1 of the championship round as pitcher Hayden Gilmore held the Bush Hogs in check while the Eagles broke open a tie game in the third inning, scoring six runs to pull away.
    Clinton built a 6-3 lead in Game 2 before the Eagles began chipping away, eventually taking a 9-6 lead with five runs in the top of the sixth. Greers Ferry added a pivotal insurance run in the seventh when Tanner Sawrie led off with a triple and scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Randon Carlton.
    With the Eagles leading 10-8 entering the bottom half of the seventh, Clinton’s Dakota Mooney doubled and scored with two out but Greers Ferry relief pitcher Dalton Treece, who used a wicked curveball to keep the Bush Hogs off-balance, left two runners in scoring position when Tate Grissom lifted a fly-ball to center field, where Payden Stewart secured the catch as the Eagles celebrated a one-run victory and the district championship.
    Greers Ferry took the game’s first lead as Blaine Hipp walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball but Clinton starting pitcher Avery Bramlett worked out of further trouble, leaving runners stranded at first and second.
    In the bottom of the first frame, the Bush Hogs tied the game as Bramlett walked and eventually scored on a two-out RBI single from Brayden Prater.
    Bramlett pitched around a leadoff single by Sawrie in the second and the Bush Hogs took the lead with two runs in the bottom half, highlighted by a two-out 2 RBI single from Bramlett, which forced Greers Ferry to relieve Gilmore with Dalton Treece, who left two runners stranded in scoring position with a strikeout.
    Greers Ferry promptly tied the game at 3-all in the top of the third, starting when Dalton Treece nailed a double to the gap in left center. Mason Treece followed with a single down the right field line, then Gilmore drove home Dalton Treece with an RBI groundout to first base.
    With two out, Mason Treece scored on a wild pitch and the Eagles placed two more runners in scoring position before Clinton left-handed first baseman Travis Farmer robbed Sawrie of a base hit with a lunging grab on a tailing liner, ending the inning with the game tied.
    Page 2 of 3 - Clinton responded with three runs on three hits in the bottom of the third, including an RBI double from Farmer and a 2 RBI single off the bat of Mooney.
    Bramlett, who picked up the win in Saturday’s 14-4 win over Greers Ferry, found his groove in the top of the fourth, recording two strikeouts and only allowing a walk to Hipp, who was stranded after stealing second.
    Dalton Treece also began to find a rhythm in the bottom half of the fourth, retiring the side in order, including a strikeout and running grab by Stewart in center.
    Trailing 6-3 entering the fifth, Greers Ferry scored two runs on one hit. Mason Treece reached on a two-base throwing error to get the Eagles started, then Gilmore lifted a sacrifice-fly to right field, moving Treece to third.
    Gage Hewitt worked a full-count walk as Mason Treece scored on a wild pitch but Bramlett got Stewart on a pop-up back to the mound. With two out, Sawrie delivered a two-strike RBI single to right field, scoring Hewitt as the Eagles cut their deficit to one at 6-5.
    Following a Carlton walk and steal of second, Clinton catcher Kobin Rhoda picked off Sawrie at third base with a perfect throw, ending the top half of the fifth with the Bush Hogs clinging to a one-run advantage.
    Dalton Treece used his nasty breaking ball to strikeout the side in the bottom of the fifth, only allowing a two-out single from Tristan Roberson. Greers Ferry then erupted with four runs on two hits in the top of the sixth, beginning when Osten Stenger reached on an error.
    After Hipp walked on four pitches, Dalton Treece worked a full-count walk, forcing Clinton to relieve Bramlett with Mason Keeling. Stenger scored on a wild pitch shortly after the pitching change, then Mason Treece slammed a 2 RBI triple to the alley in left center, scoring Hipp and twin brother Dalton Treece as the Eagles suddenly took an 8-6 lead.
    Mason Treece scored on a wild pitch, extending Greers Ferry’s lead to three before Keeling worked around more damage with the help of Rhoda, who gunned down Hewitt trying to steal second after reaching on a single.
    Clinton sliced its deficit to one in the bottom of the sixth as Bramlett singled and scored on a two-out RBI single from Prater, who found a hole on the right side. The Bush Hogs then loaded the bases on a pair of fielding miscues before Farmer drew a full-count walk that scored Prater.
    With the bases still loaded, Dalton Treece got out of the jam when Roberson bounced to shortstop, where Hipp made the play as Greers Ferry took a 9-8 lead to the final frame.
    In the top of the seventh, Sawrie’s leadoff triple to deep center followed by Carlton’s RBI ended up being critical once Clinton scored a run in the bottom half.
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