Tigers closing in on single-season stolen base mark, remain in playoff hunt

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2006

Greenville's playoff hopes took a sharp blow on Tuesday to drop to 0-3 in the area after an 11-1 loss to Eufaula.

While the Tigers do have an outside shot of earning a playoff berth, they have an even better shot at earning a place in the Alabama High School Athletic Association baseball record books.

Greenville has been averaging more than six stolen bases a game and now stands 27 stolen bases shy of eclipsing Sumiton Christian's state record of 186 stolen bases in 35 games during the 2000 season.

Still, Tigers coach Bobby Hughes would like to break the state record and have his team earn a trip to the state playoffs.

&#8220To hold a record, that's pretty good even if we don't make it,” he said. &#8220When the season started I wanted us to win 15 games and make the playoffs. That may be setting my goals a little high for a first-year coach, but we aren't that far off right now.”

At the rate the Tigers (11-14) have been swiping bases, Greenville could have 195 stolen bases by the end of the regular season. That mark also would be in four less games than Sumiton Christian.

The Tigers have 161 stolen bases through 25 games. That mark is just five shy from Elmont's 2005 club, which stands fifth in the state with 166 stolen bases in 32 games.

&#8220I was just thinking about how many stolen bases we have so far and I was curious to see if the AHSAA kept records on single-season stolen bases. So I looked it up and there it was. There is no doubt I think we've got a chance to break that record,” Hughes said.

Lynn Lewis leads the Tigers in the stolen bases department among other categories. Lewis has 50 stolen bases so far, which is 25 short of the state record set in 1997 by Maplesville's Kevin Harrison.

St. Paul's Jared Nelson and Harrison's 1996 mark of 61 in a season ranks third best in the state behind Hartselle's Eric Stinson, who stole 66 bases in 1992.

Lewis also leads the team with a .594 batting average and a .679 on-base percentage. Because of Lewis' breakout junior year, he was named to the South squad to participate in the annual North-South All-Star Baseball game, which is apart of the annual All-Stars Sports Week in Huntsville.

&#8220I'm not sure, but I think Lynn is the first Greenville player to be selected to play in this all-star game,” Hughes said. &#8220That's a great honor for him and I couldn't be more proud of him.”

But Lewis didn't have an All-Star day against area foe Eufaula on Tuesday. He was one of four players to get at least one hit in the loss at Beeland Park.

While Greenville has had no problem stealing bases, the Tigers have had a problem with errors. Greenville committed seven errors in Tuesday's 11-1 loss.

Eufaula scored a run in the first and second inning before Greenville got on the board in the bottom of the second inning to score its only run of the afternoon.

Eufaula then tacked on two runs in the third, three in the fourth, two in the fifth and closed out the blowout with four more in the seventh.

&#8220I certainly thought we would have played a lot better than we did, especially coming off that big win over Charles Henderson,” Hughes said. &#8220But you can't continue to make that many errors and expect to win.”