CLOVERDALE -- Greencastle had the WCC crown in its sights Monday night when they traveled down to Cloverdale for the first of their final two conference games with the Clovers.
A win over the hosts would lock up at least a share of the WCC crown with North Putnam. Two wins and the Tiger Cubs would be the conference champions outright.
Cloverdale was not interested, however, in letting Greencastle take part of the title home with them as they battled for to a 9-8 win in 12 innings.
Having been on a torrid offensive pace over the past week, Greencastle again began the game quickly. Both Andy Bell and Keegan Remsburg reached on errors to start the second inning before Natanial Velasquez singled to drive in bell. A wild pitch allowed Remsburg to score and Ryan Battin doubled to drive home Velasquez to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
Cloverdale would respond in the bottom of the third. What should have been back to back strike outs for Tanner Parker instead wound up as one out when Bell missed strike three off of his glove, allowing Jordan Brinkman to reach first.
Ethan Atwood singled and stole second, followed by Brian Dale striking out. Had that been the third out, Cloverdale's following rally would have had to have been built much differently.
Instead, a walk to Austin Mannan loaded the bases before Jordan Hayden smacked a single that platted two. A walk to Shawn Shipp reloaded the bases and a double by Josh Burdette plated two more, though Shipp was nailed at home for out number three, but not before the Clovers had taken a 4-3 lead.
Greencastle didn't need much time to respond as they took the lead back in the top of the fourth. Velasquez walked to lead off, and after the first out was recorded, Battin hit a two-run home run to right field to give the Tiger Cubs the lead back at 5-4.
A solo shot by Bell in the top of the fifth pushed the Greencastle lead to 6-4 but Cloverdale got a run back in the bottom of the frame after Atwood started the inning with a single. An error allowed Mannan to reach base while moving Atwood to third.
Hayden grounded to third base to push Atwood across but, in an attempt to reach third, Mannan was thrown out to end the inning with the Clovers down 6-5.
Mannan would redeem himself in the bottom of the seventh. Brinkman was hit by a pitch to start the inning, but hopes looked dim once Atwood and Dale recorded outs. With Brinkman on second, Mannan belted a shot that drove Brinkman in and tied the game a 6-6 and sent the game into extra innings.
Both squads missed chances to score in the eighth but Greencastle would take the lead in the ninth. Landon Miller picked up his first hit of the game with a scorching double before Bell plated him with a single to give the visitors a 7-6 lead and knock Dale, who had pitched all eight innings to that point, out of the game.
Justin Wilson would come in and strand Bell with three straight outs but Cloverdale needed a run to stay alive, again. Greencastle would counter by putting Remsburg on the mound to close the game out.
Cloverdale was more than willing to fight on, though. Atwood hit a dribbler that allowed him to reach base and Dale walked before Remsburg got Mannan to fly out to right field, moving Atwood to third.
A game of cat and mouse soon developed at third, but an errant throw from Remsburg allowed Atwood to score and level the score again a 7-all.
The hosts nearly ended the game in the tenth when they loaded the bases but could not find a way to plate the runners with two outs.
Green castle would grab the lead for the fourth time in the game in the eleventh after a walk and two singles loaded the bases. An initial fly out to left field by Remsburg was not deep enough for Jesse Vermillion to reach from third, but a deeper fly from Joe Lenihan allowed Vermillion to score and bring the score up to 8-7.
Another two out hit from the Clovers would ensure the game went on to the twelfth. A single from Hayden and a walk to Burdette gave Wilson a chance to get a hit and the pitcher came through to plate Hayden and nod the scores for the final time a 8-8.
After Greencastle did not score in the top half of the inning, Vermillion came in to pitch the bottom half and quickly gave up a hit to Skiles, a Walk to Brinkman and loaded the bases when Atwood bunted down the third base line.
Though Dale could not get the winning run across, Mannan was able to punch a shot through to right field and score the winning run as the sun set on the field and players.
GHS 030 210 001 010 -- 8 14 4
CHS 004 010 101 011 -- 9 16 4