Brock and Peaster baseball’s latest rivalry game did not disappoint.
The Greyhounds traveled to the Eagles’ home turf Friday night, ultimately falling, 2-1 in nine innings in the District 7-3A showdown.
Brock freshman Peyton Shaffer came up clutch with a walk-off single to left field in the bottom of the ninth, breaking the 1-1 stalemate.
Eagles’ Head Coach Hart Hering said Shaffer’s RBI single to close out the contest was a great ending to a competitive game.
“For a freshman that has had limited experience throughout the year to step up in that spot was huge for him,” Hering said.
“Hopefully that will give him some confidence moving forward. That’s a memory he won’t forget. Anytime you get Peaster and Brock together, it’s always gonna be a tight one. I’m certainly glad we were able to keep it where it was and grind it out.”
Greyhounds’ Head Coach Lynn Grimes said despite the loss, he was proud of the fight his team showed.
“It’s a shame anyone lost, it was a fun game,” Grimes said.
“Obviously you always want the win, but I’ll put my name on those guys [for] the way they played [Friday], any day. I was so proud of them.
“We had two, three freshmen on the field, three or four sophomores. They’re learning, they’re getting thrown in the fire a little bit, and that was a great learning experience. Hopefully that benefits us down the road.”
Both teams refused to give an inch for a majority of the contest, with the Eagles’ and Greyhounds’ bullpens combining for 18 strikeouts.
Peaster starting pitcher Garrett Hardin racked up nine of those strikeouts in seven innings on the mound.
Grimes praised Hardin for keeping his team in the game.
“Garrett Hardin did great,” Grimes said.
“He gave us every opportunity in the world to win, and I was proud of him. He’s just getting better and better. He’ll be back next year and it’s gonna be exciting to see what he can do.”
Cooper Nelson got the start on the mound for Brock, earning five strikeouts of his own in eight innings pitched.
Both pitchers were backed up by strong defensive showings.
On one hand, despite stringing together nine hits, Peaster was held to one scoring inning, with Greyhounds’ freshman Daniel Gomez driving in a run on a hard ground ball to second base in the top of the fourth (Brock scored its first run in the bottom of the same frame).
Peaster had a chance to pull ahead in the top of the eighth, putting two runners on with back-to-back, one-out singles, however, a timely double play by Brock’s defense instead closed out the top of the frame.
Grimes stressed that his team put itself in a position to win several times, while saying defense ultimately proved the difference Friday.
“We had our opportunities, but you’ve got to tip your hat to the pitching and defense,” Grimes said.
“That’s baseball, but we’ll learn from it.”
Hering said Nelson and the Eagles’ defense played great complimentary ball.
“[Nelson’s] a pitch to contact guy,” Hering said.
“He’s not gonna have high strikeout numbers, so we’re gonna have to defend every play.
“[It’s important] for us to engage and stay ready and make the routine ones, and then you sprinkle in a few great plays, and then we’re gonna have a chance to win every time he’s on the mound for us. That’s what we’ve got to hang our hat on, pitching and defense, and it showed up [Friday] night and was a big part of why we won.”
The Greyhounds’ defense responded in kind in the bottom of the eighth, following up a strikeout (with two runners on) by successfully catching an Eagles’ baserunner headed to third in a rundown.
Unfortunately for Peaster, the team was unable to capitalize at the plate the next inning, going three up, three down, setting up Shaffer’s game winner.
That being said, Brock, which has repeatedly shown the capability to put up double digit runs on opponents this season (an earlier 11-6 win over Peaster, 24-2 rout of Jacksboro and 10-0 shutout of Millsap for example), managed only four hits.
Over Brock’s last five games, the team has scored a combined 18 runs, 14 of which came in one game against Jacksboro.
Hering said the Eagles’ offense has admittedly struggled as of late, although he expressed optimism that Friday’s win can potentially help with that.
“We’re struggling right now offensively,” Hering said.
“We haven’t been able to string much together, and we’re kind of in a slump. It’s just unfortunate that a lot of our key hitters are in a slump at the same time. I think the approach is there, it’s just a matter of not seeing it really well right now.
“I think it will come around for us and we’ll hopefully start clicking. Maybe a win like this will help us get rolling offensively.”
Seven different batters contributed hits for the Greyhounds, with Joseph Grimes and Cade Adams leading the way with two hits each.
Shaffer, Tripp Jones, Cooper Allen and Caleb Satterfield each contributed one hit for the Eagles.
Peaster hosts the Millsap Bulldogs at 7 p.m. tonight.
Brock was scheduled to play the Paradise Panthers Monday on the road.