The Warren East baseball team gave South Warren one too many opportunities Wednesday night.
The Spartans (5-1, 1-0 District 14) broke through in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Brock Lawrence's two-out single scored the winning run in a 1-0 victory at Greenwood High School.
"We knew it would be a tight game, so we had to take advantage of every opportunity," said Lawrence, a junior center fielder. "We're a young team again – back to square one – but we feel like we've got a new culture this year. We feel a lot more confident and we're looking to repeat last year."
South Warren, the 2012 Region 4 champion, managed six hits – including three by Lawrence – off Warren East pitchers Hunter Green and Landon Stracener.
But it had runners in scoring position in three innings and finished empty-handed each time before Lawrence's walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh plated sophomore left fielder Wes King.
King reached base on a single with one out and advanced to second on a throwing error. After a single by senior catcher Jacob Vaughan, Lawrence chopped a ground ball through a hole on the right side to give the Spartans the win in their district opener.
"Our guys competed and fouled off pitches by battling early in the game," SWHS coach Chris Gage said. "We had a hole over there, and we told him to take advantage of it."
South Warren was tasked with sparking its offense against Green, a 6-foot-4-inch, left-handed senior who took the mound in front of at least six professional scouts.
Green surrendered four walks and three hits in five innings for a no-decision. He struck out six batters on 103 pitches.
In three starts this year, he's fanned 29 batters and allowed five hits and one earned run in 14 innings, but has a 0-1 record.
"We just try to relax up there," Lawrence said. "We try to slow the pitcher down by starting our swing early. He's got great stuff, so a lot of it's just not trying too hard and playing our game."
Green returned for the sixth inning after throwing 100 pitches, but he allowed a single to the first batter faced and was pulled for the junior Stracener.
Stracener gave up three hits in two innings and recorded the loss.
South Warren sophomore Cameron Shyrock won the duel against Green with a complete-game effort. He struck out eight batters and allowed three walks and a hit in seven innings.
"Shyrock matched him, really," Gage said. "He came out a little shaky. He's pitching against Hunter Green, and he's just a sophomore, but he's been in big games before."
Lawrence was 3 for 4 at the plate with three singles for the Spartans, while King had two singles. Vaughan reached base in three of four trips to the plate.
Sophomore catcher Alex Wright logged the lone hit for Warren East (1-6, 0-1) with a single in the game's first at-bat.
"If you continue to miss chances, someone's going to take advantage at some point," WEHS coach Wes Sanford said. "We needed a big hit and just didn't manage it. Offensively, we've got to get better, and I'll put that on me. We're going to continue to grind until we get it right, and hopefully we will by the right time."
The teams will continue their three-game series at 6 p.m. today at Warren East and finish it at 5:30 p.m. Friday at South Warren.
WEHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0
SWHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 1
WP: Shyrock LP: Stracener
Greenwood 3, Bowling Green 0
The Gators (4-4, 1-0) gave senior pitcher Dexter Cline plenty of run support Wednesday, but it was more than he needed.
Cline struck out nine batters and allowed two hits and two walks in seven innings for a shutout victory in the nightcap at GHS.
"Dexter's a bulldog, and he's a leader on this team," Greenwood coach Jason Jaggers said. "He's a tough kid that works hard. He stayed around the zone, battled and gave us a chance to win."
Cline also scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth, when junior shortstop Drew Hayles brought him home with a sacrifice fly.
The hurler again helped his own cause in the sixth with a sac fly, and senior outfielder Chris Hardin scored on a wild pitch in the next at-bat to make it 3-0.
The win was Greenwood's first over the Purples (4-3, 0-1) since April 2010.
"We came in expecting to go hard, and we really wanted to get this win," Cline said. "It's been a while since we beat BG, so we came out with a lot of intensity."
Senior pitcher Tyler Kilgus took the loss for Bowling Green after allowing four hits, three walks and three runs in six innings. He struck out three.
The teams will play a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. today at BGHS.
"Dexter threw well, but I thought Tyler threw well, too," Bowling Green coach Dan Mosier said. "They scratched a couple across, but that's baseball. One of the great things about the way we do this now is that we get to come back tomorrow and play two more and start all over again."
BGHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0
GHS 0 0 0 0 1 2 x - 3
WP: Cline LP: Kilgus