Lions rally to defeat West-Oak

By Bru Nimmons
Sports Editor

CENTRAL — Despite giving up zero hits in the early innings, a number of errors had the Daniel High School baseball team facing a 3-1 deficit in the fourth inning against West-Oak on Thursday night.

One more mistake led to the Warriors throwing out Daniel pinch runner Matthew Smith at third base, but Lion second baseman Greyson Davis refused to let the errors compound from there, sneaking a ground ball under the glove of West-Oak first baseman Ty Jenkins to jumpstart the Lions in a 9-4 comeback win.

“He got behind in the count 0-2, but just battled and put the ball on the barrel,” Daniel head coach Jarrod Payne said. “I thought that was the game-changing play. Once that happened, it opened the guys up.”

Payne’s observation proved true, with Lee Turnipseed scoring two on a double to deep left center field and Jasean Perry plating two more with a single before Spencer Conn ended the run with a powerful triple to put the Lions ahead 7-3 after four innings.

For West-Oak head coach Nick Groomes, it was a dismaying turn of events after building an early lead by taking advantage of the Lions’ miscues, including runs scored on a passed ball and a wild pitch.

“We’re struggling a little bit in all three phases,” Groomes said.

Still, Groomes was proud of the way the Warriors battled throughout the rest of the game, including a stretch in the fifth inning that saw Kadon Griffin break their hitless run before Nick Connally drove him home to cut the lead to 7-4.

However, the Warriors’ struggles to hit the ball kept them off the board the rest of the way, while errors allowed the Lions to add two more in the bottom of the fifth and secure the lead in their 9-4 victory.

The win was the sixth straight for the Lions and even more importantly kept them alone and unbeaten atop the Western 3A heading into their season series with Seneca this week.

According to Davis, the Lions had plenty of confidence heading into the series.

“We’re looking hot and feeling good,” Davis said. “Seneca’s a good team, and they swept us last year so we’re going to try and get a couple wins back.”

Weather delayed Tuesday’s opening matchup with the Bobcats, so the Lions will now host Seneca on Wednesday with a matchup in Seneca following on Friday.