By Johnny Sanders, Sports Editor
LEEDS – Thursday evening, the Leeds Green Wave went into a dog fight on the diamond against the Southside Panthers, riding a 3-game winning streak. The Green Wave would get 15 hits total in the game, but one of those hits stood out and that would be the final one, the one that extended the Leeds winning streak to 4.
Southside took control early with a 2-0 first inning and built the lead to 3-0 before Leeds got on the board for the first time in the third inning. The Green Wave’s Caden Vance would hit a grounder to shortstop that would be mishandled and drive in a waiting Andrew Howard to make it 3-1 Panthers after 3 innings of play.
The fourth inning would heat up a bit as Southside would start things off by scoring 2 more runs, making it 5-1 for the visiting team. The Leeds bats would wake up in the bottom of the inning as they would score 4 runs to tie the ball game heading into the fifth. The first score would come after Dax Phillips got on base and Peyton Moore drove him in on a single to shortstop. Graham Gulock would then hit his own single to shortstop to drive in Moore. Ty Bedell would bunt and get on base, moving Gulock to second. Howard would strike out but an error would bring Gulock home and advance Bedell to third, now making the score 5-4 Southside. Conner Nelson would hit a single to right field to bring Bedell home for the tying run before the final out of the inning.
Southside would put up a run in the fifth to take a one-point lead. After a scoreless sixth inning, Leeds would tie it up in the seventh on a Nelson solo home run in the first at-bat of the inning.
With the score tied and 2 outs in the eighth inning and the bases loaded, Caden Vance stepped up to the plate. After evening the count at 2-2 on a foul ball, he cracked one to center field to drive in Gulock for the winning score, preserving the winning streak for the Green Wave.
Nolan Moore would pitch 4 innings for the Green Wave, allowing 5 runs on 3 hits, striking out 4 batters. Jared Latta would come in and earn the win with 4 innings of his own, surrendering one run and striking out 6 batters while allowing 3 hits.
“I was just proud of our kids,” said Jake Wingo, Leeds’ Head Coach. “We got down 5-1 and they didn’t blink. They just kept playing. They tied it up in the fifth, lost the lead in the sixth, going down by one. Then Conner hit the homer in the seventh to tie it back up and get to extra innings. Then Caden Vance walked it off in the eighth. I’m just proud of their fight and will to win. It’s a good confidence game to win a close one against a good team like that. It’s just over all a good win.”
Leeds extends their winning streak to 4 games in a row now, making them an even 8-8 on the season after a 4-8 start. Wingo said, “Starting the way we did, you don’t take any wins for granted.”
Leeds will host Saint Clair County on Monday night in hopes of keeping their streak alive.