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Holloway opens first season with the Bulldogs
Senior Tanner Chapple (4) slides across the plate as the Bulldogs built a big lead against Rogers before hanging on for the one-run victory. (Photo by Richard White courtesy of the Greenwood Dog Pound)

Holloway opens first season with the Bulldogs

By Richard White

Old Man Winter notwithstanding, Greenwood High School head baseball coach Trey Holloway and his Bulldogs were able to squeeze in a game last Tuesday afternoon against the Booneville Bearcats. The game also had special significance for Holloway, who is a Booneville native and was quite the athlete in his prep days at Booneville High before moving on to the University of Arkansas. And to top it off, his Bulldogs came away with a memorable 6-0 victory, his first as a head coach.

Thanks to unseasonably good weather in January and February, Holloway, his staff, and the Bulldogs were able to get in a lot of work before the season started. But Greenwood was only able to get on the field last Tuesday by keeping the infield covered by a tarp.

“We’ve had the tarp down since the big snow,” said the coach. “We’ve been trying to keep it tarped as much as we can. We’ve done a lot of work to the playing surface, but it’s not up to par yet. It was really soft. It drizzled the majority of the day. It started again, and then let up. Then it started again about the sixth inning. The mound was starting to get slick, and it was getting sloshy around the plate.”

Senior starting pitcher Kyler Watson had a strong outing, giving up just one hit and two walks over five innings of work, striking out five, before being relieved late by Tyler Cox. Greenwood scored a single run in the bottom of the first, then added three more in the fourth and two more in the fifth, though the Bulldogs managed only five hits themselves. Both teams committed two errors in the game.

“It was kind of surreal,” Holloway said of beating his alma mater. “After the game, some of the coaches said that I can smile, [because] we won. I was just taking it all in as much as I could.”

Offensively for the Bulldogs, freshman Connor Nolan had two hits, while Jake Freeman, Max Higgins, and Chris Sunde each had solo hits. Watson, Higgins, and Jake Herrel were each credited with one run batted in. Freeman, Watson, Tanner Cooper, Michael Panis, Garrett Collins, and Cooper Van Kooten each scored a run in the game for the Bulldogs.

Shortstop Senior Tanner Cooper (24) sneaks behind the Rogers’ runner at second base. The Bulldogs are 2-0 to start the season and are playing in a tournament in Texarkana this weekend. Their next home game is Tuesday against Shiloh Christian. (Photo by Richard White courtesy of the Greenwood Dog Pound)

Shortstop Senior Tanner Cooper (24) sneaks behind the Rogers’ runner at second base. The Bulldogs are 2-0 to start the season and are playing in a tournament in Texarkana this weekend. Their next home game is Tuesday against Shiloh Christian. (Photo by Richard White courtesy of the Greenwood Dog Pound)

Last Friday’s game at home against Rogers was rescheduled for Saturday afternoon, and the weather was much more cooperative. A large crowd turned out to soak up the sunshine and watch Greenwood build a 4-0 lead through five frames, before holding on to win in nine innings, 7-6.

Unfortunately, the game software used by the coaching staff crashed late in the contest, and individual stats were not readily available. However, starting pitcher Conner Nolan was sharp throughout the early going. Catcher Jake Herrel had a double to spark a GHS rally, and first baseman Tyler Cox made a pair of nice saves on low throws from his teammates.

The Bulldogs will travel to Texarkana this weekend to play five games in three days. “We’ll play three Texas teams and two Arkansas teams,” explained Holloway. “We’ll face some good competition. We’ll pitch some guys that will probably be J.V., but I want to see how they are going to respond in varsity games. Early on, I want to see as many pitchers as I can,” said the coach.

Returning home, the Bulldogs will host Shiloh Christian next Tuesday in a varsity/junior varsity doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. The freshman and sophomore teams will host Fort Smith Northside on Wednesday at 5 p.m., before Greenwood hosts a varsity doubleheader with Little Rock Catholic next Thursday at 5 p.m. to open conference play.

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