After alternating between blowout wins and close los-ses in its first six games this season, Sweetwater’s baseball team proved it could win a close game in its Wood Bat Classic opener Thursday against Clyde.
In their 8-7 win at New-man Park, the Mustangs also proved that they could win with eight players.
Let’s get to the first point first.
Sweetwater (4-3) found itself down 6-0 when Clyde scored six runs — five of them unearned — in the second inning. However, the Mustangs gradually fought their way back to within 7-5, which was the deficit they trailed by when they came to bat for the final time in the bottom of the seventh.
Sean Morrow led off by reaching on an error. After an out, Shawn Campbell got on with a bunt single and Dylan Bennett was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hayden Reeves then tripled on a 1-0 pitch just inside the rightfield line to score all three runners and give Sweetwater a thrilling come-from-behind win.
Now the second point.
Sweetwater began with the minimum nine players because five members of the team were unable to play due to various conflicts.
It became more serious when first baseman Greg Aiken left in the fifth inning after being hurt sliding into third base following a leadoff hit. The Mustangs, as a result, had to go with eight players with an automatic out in Aiken’s spot in the order — which happened after Morrow reached on an error to start the seventh.
Aiken’s future is uncertain, but Sweetwater is expected to have a full team the rest of the tournament.
Reeves’ hit made a win-ner of J.P. Poe, who got the last three outs in the top of the seventh in relief of star-ting pitcher Stephen May.
Reeves also had a two-RBI hit in the third that scored Aiken and Campbell and got Sweetwater within 6-4 when Clyde’s first baseman lost the ball in the sun. Ryan Linebaugh began the inning with a single and eventually scored on a passed ball. Campbell also scored in the fifth with the help of a pair of Clyde errors.