Even with temperatures in the 30s and blustery winds swirling around Dale Alexander Field the Greeneville baseball team felt good about getting on the field for the first time on Tuesday, and in their season opener the Greene Devils took down Claiborne 9-2.
“It was just good to get out and play, even when the weather is like this,” Greeneville coach Andy Collins said. “The first time out we are looking to throw strikes and execute. We didn’t execute as well as I would have liked a few times, but sometimes that’s harder when its 32 degrees outside.”
Parker Shipley set the tone early by striking out the first two Bulldogs who stepped into the batters’ box on just six pitches. He went on to strikeout three batters in the inning. Shipley earned the win on the mound on Tuesday. In five innings of work he struck out eight, walked none and allowed two hits on just 47 pitches.
“Parker went right at them, and that’s what he does. He lets his movement work for him. He throws a lot of strikes, and we are going to play quick games when he is out there,” Collins said.
The Devils were able to take the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Maddox Bishop led off the side with a walk and moved to third on steal and a passed ball. Carson Quillen then got a line drive to fall into shallow left field to score Greeneville’s first run of the year.
In the second inning Greeneville’s lead moved to 2-0. Noah Murray got things started with a free pass. Corbin Cannon next beat out a chopper down the third-base line and then Bishop snuck a single through the left side of the infield. Shipley used his bat to add to the Devils’ lead when he lined a shot into straight away centerfield to score Murray.
The third inning is where the Greene Devils blew the game open, and Carson Norris started things by firing a shot into right field for a single. Norris scored when Kobe Mundy launched a double to the wall in left field. On the very next pitch Murray sent a mirror-image blast to left field, but his swat carried just a little bit further and cleared the fence for a three-run home run and a 6-0 lead.
“That hit from Noah was huge. He’s capable of doing that, and that’s why he’s the DH tonight. That was good to see out of him,” Collins said.
The big hits kept coming for the Devils as Bishop found the right-center gap for a double. Shipley followed with a double to left-center that pushed the lead to 7-0. Then Colton Richards beat out a single that made it deep in the gap on the right side to score Shipley for an 8-0 lead.
“I think we were just throwing the bat head a little bit more instead of trying to guide the ball,” Collins said. “If they aren’t throwing somebody that’s bringing it 85 MPH then I want them to get up on the plate and to throw the bat head. And they made that adjustment in the third.”
Claiborne got on the board for the first time in the sixth inning when Joseph Houser bounced an RBI double off the wall in center field. Houser went on to score when Tyler Myatt got a line drive through the left side.
Caden Fillers, who the Devils have customarily counted on for his arm, scored the final run when he blasted a solo home run out of the park in left field.
Fillers then came out on the mound in relief and struck out the next two batters he faced on just six pitches before closing out the game.
“I’ll give Caden a lot of credit, he has been working hard offensively, as much as he has on the mound,” Collins said. “He has some pop, even if the wind was blowing 100 miles per hour. Then we are going to need him to be able throw his off speed for strikes this year, and he did that there in the last inning.”
Greeneville earned 12 hits on Tuesday with Bishop, Quillen, Shipley and Cannon all earning two. Shipley, Bishop, Cannon and Mundy all had doubles while Murray and Fillers both had home runs.