By Wil Crews
The Glenwood Gators Varsity Boys baseball team (19-4, 3-0) can put a stranglehold on the region by winning a home double-header against Lee-Scott Academy on Tuesday.
Results were not available at press time but Glenwood coach Tim Fanning called it “the biggest game of the year.”
Fanning said he plans to throw his big guns — seniors Trevor Horne and Colton Dempsey — for the two pivotal games against their regional foe.
“Lee-Scott, they always do a good job of controlling the game on the mound,” Fanning said. “I just want out guys focused and ready. This is what you want.”
The Gators have built up some decent momentum heading into Tuesday’s action, winning two of their last three games.
The one loss came when Glenwood played Friday against East Coweta High School of Sharpsburg, Georgia. The Gators ultimately fell 6-4, thanks in part to a few costly errors. Although Fanning said he pitched well, Horne was dealt his first loss of the year on the mound.
“He didn’t pitch bad or give up a ton of hits,” Fanning said. “I mean they are really good; you can’t give them extra outs; and we did that in a big inning where they scored four runs and I thought they should have scored one.
“To win big games like that you’ve got to make plays. And they made more than we did.”
In what was a rather pedestrian hitting day for the Gators, Kody Bence led the way, going 2-for-3. Dempsey also had a day of note, going 1-for-3 with a double.
While the Gators struggled to make plays in their first game of the week, their next game — a 29-run thriller against Southland — was the complete opposite. Coming out of the gates slowly, Glenwood quickly fell behind 9-2 after three innings. That’s when senior Devin Denny came in to pitch and stopped the bleeding enough for the Gators to get back into the game.
“Denny righted the ship there; He gave us a chance to come back and we did,” Fanning said. “We didn’t fold up the tent.”
Four runs in the fourth and six runs in the sixth gave Glenwood a 12-9 lead. Southland then answered with five more runs in the bottom of the sixth as Denny began to fatigue on the mound.
“I probably left him in too long, he’s a short relief guy,” Fanning said.
Down 14-12, Glenwood scored three more runs in the seventh to take a 15-14 lead. Sophomore Jacob Page, who had the game winning hit on offense, closed things on the mound to earn the win.
Horne led the way for a number of standout Glenwood hitters, going 2-for-5 with two home runs — including a grand slam in the sixth inning — and six RBI. Page went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Cam Carpenter went 3-for-6 with three RBI. Dempsey had a home run and one RBI, reaching base on two-of-five at bats. And lastly, Trent Edwards deserves some love, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a double.
Glenwood continued its winning ways on Monday with a 6-2 victory over Evangel. Another sophomore, Jackson Kennon, threw a four-hit complete game on the mound to earn the win.
“He’s doing well,” Fanning said of Kennon.
The Gators scored two runs in the first and two more in the second, holding on to control of the game throughout. The two runs surrendered to Evangel were unearned.
The Gators are about halfway through the season now, and the two games against Lee-Scott on Tuesday could springboard the team towards its ultimate goals. After Tuesday, Glenwood will play double-header, round-robin games against Social Circle and Bremen High Schools this week.
“We gotta keep grinding,” Fanning said of his team’s mentality heading into the second half of the season. “Regardless of who is on the mound, what the weather is, where we are going, if we are on the road or at home, you’ve got to be able to grind to be a successful baseball team. That’s what we are working on.”