MARYVILLE – Greeneville baseball coach Andy Collins is not letting his team ease into the season at all as they are opening up with five games in five days against some stiff competition.
On Wednesday that meant a trip to Heritage High School to take on Knox West in the Cure For Cancer Tournament, and the Devils came away with a 3-1 win.
“We got good pitching from both Colton (Richards) and Carson (Quillen), but early in the year we are trying to figure out how to score runs,” Collins said. “Just being able to get out here and play baseball is big for us. I’m competitive and want to win every one of these games, but we are playing good teams and I just want to see good baseball being played this week. I want us throwing strikes, playing errorless defense, and putting the ball in play, especially as we roll into Grainger next week.”
The Greene Devils tough tests will continue with Bearden on Thursday, Sevier County on Friday and Morristown West on Saturday. Then next week will start with a two-game series against archrival Grainger.
Maddox Bishop got the day started with a bang for the Greene Devils when he split the left-center gap with a leadoff double. Parker Shipley moved him up on a sacrifice bunt, and Carson Quillen knocked in the first run of the day with a single that landed safely in left field.
That lead moved to 2-0 in the second inning. Will Harmon got Greeneville going with a single up the middle, and he moved to third after a steal and a passed ball. Harmon scored when Corbin Cannon sent hard-hit ball to the third baseman. Cannon hurried down the baseline with two outs and forced a rushed throw that was off the mark.
As Greeneville was taking the lead with its bats Colton Richards was on the mound and making sure the Rebels were not going to catch them. In his first two innings on the mound he peppered the strike zone and used just 23 pitches while striking out four batters. In five innings of work he struck out six, walked none, allowed two hits and hit one batter.
“I though Colton threw really well against a pretty good team,” Collins said. “He was filling it up, and we didn’t use too much off speed. We just went right at them. The wind blowing straight in helped that out because you are not as worried about how far they can hit it.”
The Devils added another run in the third inning. Shipley led off the side with single to right field. Quillen then sent a bunt to the left side that he beat out for a single. Both runners moved up on a passed ball before Carson Norris laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored Shipley to make it 3-0.
“I’m good with scoring one run an inning, but we have to continue that execution out throughout the game,” Collins said. “But it was big in early innings that guys executed when opportunities presented themselves. Carson Quillen had a big base hit that turned into an RBI. We were able to get some bunts down, and then little things like Corbin putting one in play and giving us a chance makes a difference.”
West’s only run of the afternoon came in the fourth inning. Emerson Howard led off the side by tracing the first-base line with a single. A hit batter and a wild pitch put Howard on third before Denver Silfka put a sacrifice fly into centerfield.
The Rebels never had a chance to challenge for the lead, though, because the next 11 batters they sent to the plate went down in order.
Quillen closed the game out on the mound to earn the save. In two innings he struck out three with no walks and no hits allowed
Quillen led the Devils’ bats as well by going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Bishop and Kobe Mundy both had doubles for Greeneville.