Greenville gets walk-off tournament win over Eaton

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Braeden Wills pitches complete game to lead Greenville to tournament win over Eaton. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

GREENVILLE – The Greenville varsity boys baseball team won a nail-biter defeating the Eaton Eagles 2-1 with a walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh inning to advance in OHSAA DII tournament play.

Greenville varsity baseball team celebrates first round walk-off tournament win over Eaton Eagles. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“Today was nice to have a full crowd. What better way to show them Green Wave baseball today?” said Greenville coach Adam Eberwein. “To go out and have a squeaker like this and a fun game to watch – because it was fun.”

Green Wave junior Braeden Wills went the distance on the mound, tossing a 3 hitter, and crushed the walk-off game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh, advancing Greenville in tournament action.

Greenville’s Braeden Wills drills a ball to the centerfield wall driving in walk off winning run advancing the Green Wave in tournament action. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“Braeden pitched a fantastic game tonight,” Eberwein said. “He went a complete game, he hit his max on his pitches, normally I don’t allow players to do that, but he kept saying he was feeling good and it’s the best he’s felt all season so we figured what better time than now to let him keep going and then to be the guy to go up to the plate.”

“We had some conversations before the game because normally I like to let a designated hitter bat for our pitcher and that way he can focus on pitching but Braeden said, ‘Coach, to be honest with you I want to hit,’ so we put him in the batting order,” Coach Eberwein added.

Eaton started their ace pitcher to open the 2024 OHSAA tournament play and went into the sixth inning before having some control issues.

“That was their No. 1 pitcher by far, and at the end, we did a good job of keeping our cool and playing the best ball we could,” said Eberwein. “Right now is the time to be playing our best ball.”

Owen McGreevey got the first of just two Greenville hits on the night to open the bottom of the first inning in what would play out to be the Wave’s lone hit until Wills’ game-winner in the bottom of the seventh.

Owen Mcgreevey accounted for one of two Greenville hits in team’s tournament win over Eaton. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Eaton collected their first of three hits of the game, a single to left in the top of the third inning where it would be left stranded.

Eaton made it interesting in the top of the sixth with back-to-back singles to open the inning, followed by a sacrifice bunt, putting runners on second and third with one out. The next batter drove a ball to the right with Greenville’s right fielder Owen Mcgreevey backing way up on the ball to make a running catch towards home plate with a perfect blistering throw to home, holding the Eagle’s runner at third.

Owen Mcgreevey runs out from under his cap, making a perfect throw to the plate, saving a run, and holding Eaton runner at third in a tournament win over the Eagles. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Wills picked up his seventh strike out of the night to strand Eaton’s runners and keep the Eagles off the board.

Mcgreevey coaxed a one-out full count walk in the bottom of the sixth, followed by Wills drilling a hard grounder to third played for an error, putting runners on first and second with one down, bringing an Eaton pitching change. A strikeout and a Cole Oswalt walk had bases loaded with two outs bringing Drew Hamilton to the plate to draw a run-scoring walk and a 1-0 Greenville lead after six complete.

Drew Hamilton draws a run-scoring walk to give Greenville a 1-0 lead in a tournament win over Eaton. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Eaton battled back with a walk to open seventh-inning play followed by back-to-back strikeouts. What looked like a game-ending grounder was played for an error, plating an Eagles run, sending the game to the bottom of the seventh knotted at 1-1 and Greenville coming to the plate.

Greenville senior Quentin Garner led off the top of the seventh, getting hit squarely in the back with a fastball, followed by a strikeout and Titus Eberwein reaching by way of a hit batsman, putting runners on first and second with one out on the board.

Quentin Garner takes one for the team with a fastball in the back and would come around to score the winning run on Wills’ blast to center. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Mcgreevey was intentionally walked, setting up a rocket to deep dead center off the bat of Wills, scoring the winning walk-off Greenville run. Wills’ blast was well over the centerfielder’s head, sending all three runners home, but only the first run goes in the book, and Wills was credited for a single in what would have been a 3-run triple had it come at any other time but a walk-off.

“Our last five games I can’t tell you how many times we’ve left guys on base and not had that timely hit,” Eberwein stated, “and we couldn’t have had a better timely hit than that right there. No doubt it would have been (a 3-run triple), he hit it clear to the wall.”

Wills earned the win going 7.0 innings, allowing no earned runs, 3 hits, and 5 walks while striking out 10 Eaton hitters.

Greenville collected two hits with the first hit coming in the team’s first at-bat of the night and the last plate appearance of the game. Mcgreevey went 1-2 with 2 walks and a run scored. Wills knocked in the winning run going 1-4 with an RBI. Drew Hamilton drew a run-scoring walk to round out Greenville’s scoring.

“I told these guys, I want a state championship just like anyone else, but we have to play one game at a time, and our next game is Thursday at Oakwood,” Coach Eberwein concluded.

BOX SCORE

123 456 7   R   H   E

000 000 1   1   3   3   Eaton

000 001 1   2   2   1   Greenville