With just two seniors on its roster, the Greenfield baseball team is pretty much learning on the fly this season.
The Hustlin' Hawks appear to be benefitting from their lessons — after a horrendous start, they are steadily improving.
They lost their first three games by a combined 37-10 but have since won three of five, including a 4-3 triumph over rival Greendale in eight innings June 6.
"We have a young team this season," head coach Lee Kleszczynski said. "The only ones who played varsity last season were (senior) Tyler Haim and (junior) Richard Thomas. Our other senior, Jordan Koutnik, missed the season with an injury."
The victory over Greendale was particularly satisfying, as the Hawks trailed 3-2 going into the bottom of the eighth. Thomas drew a walk, but the next two hitters struck out, leaving Greenfield with just a man on first and one out remaining.
Sophomore Dominick Meyer smashed a ball up the middle that hit the base umpire and went for a single, then sophomore Bryce Laverdure reached on an error as Thomas scored to tie the game at 3-3.
With runners on first and third, sophomore Ben Fularczyk laid down a bunt. Greendale threw home but Meyer slid under the tag for the winning run.
"We had nothing to lose, since the game was already tied," Kleszczynski said. "I think we kind of caught them by surprise (with the two-out bunt)."
Haim finished the game 2-for-2, while Koutnik drove in a run with a double. Thomas was the winning pitcher, going all eight innings and allowing 11 hits while striking out three and walking four.
Greenfield downed Shorewood 14-9 June 4 behind a varied attack. Laverdure went 3-for-3 with three runs batted in, Thomas 3-for-5 and sophomore Parker Rome 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Junior Adam Fleischhacker and Meyer each added two hits.
The Hawks lost to the Greyhounds 6-4 June 3 despite two hits each by Laverdure, Meyer and Rome.
Greenfield closed last week with a 19-4 loss to New Berlin West on Friday to drop to 3-4 in the Woodland Conference and 3-5 overall.
Kleszczynski said Thomas, Fularczyk, Meyer, junior Joey Hannah and junior Ben Esenberg have been the main pitchers so far, while Thomas and Laverdure have been the most consistent hitters.
Greenfield now plays in the South Milwaukee Wood Bat Tournament on Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m., then plays two against St. Francis next week, on the road Monday and at home Tuesday. Both games are at 5 p.m.
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