BANGOR, Maine — Already eliminated from their chance to qualify for the Senior League World Series semifinals, the U.S. Southeast champions from Greenville, S.C., just went out and played some baseball in their Pool A finale Thursday morning.
And they finished off the city’s first SLWS appearance in grand style, defeating Canadian champion Cornwall, Ontario, 11-1 in six innings at Mansfield Stadium.
Greenville lost its first two games to pool champion Fremont, Calif., 5-1, and runnerup Makati City, Philippines, 4-3 — after yielding two runs in the bottom of the seventh — but finished 2-2 thanks to Wednesday night’s 4-2, 10-inning victory over host Bangor and Thursday’s less dramatic win.
“I told the kids to just go out and have fun, baseball’s a great game and that’s what we’re here for,” said Greenville manager Ken Jeager.
“We were one out away from winning that second game so we would be 3-1, and you do think about being one out away. But I just told them to go out and play for pride, the people in Greenville all have been excited about us and how we were doing so I told them to just go out and win the next two.”
Austin Mason was Greenville’s pivotal player against the Cornwall Black Sox, pitching a complete-game four-hitter. The righthander did not allow an earned run while striking out six batters and walking no one during his 84-pitch effort.
“I threw pretty well,” said Mason, who relied prominently on his split-fingered fastball. “The guys made some good plays in the field for me and that helped me out a lot.”
Mason did not allow a hit until Cornwall’s Sean Hickey avoided the tag after bunting down the first-base line for an infield single in the fourth inning.
The Canadian champs (0-4) scored their only run in the sixth when Ryan Daigle reached on an infield error, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Jay Flannigan’s single to right.
Flannigan’s single was one of just two Cornwall hits to leave the infield against Mason.
“He pitched great,” said Yeager. “We made four errors so he had to make more pitches than he should have had to, but he kept them off balance.”
Greenville had 12 hits off three Cornwall pitchers, with Mason contributing an RBI single in the third inning and an RBI triple in the sixth, when the U.S. Southeast champions scored their final two runs to invoke the 10-run.
Mason scored the game-ending run right after his triple to center when the next batter, Gray Thomas, chopped an infield single toward second base.
Brett Tompkins added three singles for the winners, while Thomas, Brooks Yeager and Nick Peter each hit two singles.
Connell Anderson’s suicide squeeze plated Alan Suchy and Austill Lutrell had a two-run single to center as Greenville took a 3-0 first-inning lead off Cornwall starter Leo MacLean.
“It’s been fun, it’s been real,” said Mason of the SLWS experience. “I just wish we could have won.”