NEW BRITAIN - Nick Greenwood set the tone early and often for the New Britain Bees Friday night.
The left-hander recorded his 500th career strikeout as the Bees beat the Long Island Ducks 5-3.
“You know it just shows you’ve been playing for a little while,” Greenwood said. “You had some success and to gain that I dreamed of playing and to be playing for nine-ten years it’s pretty awesome, and a cool accomplishment.”
Greenwood struck out Giovanny Alfonzo in the top of the fifth inning to reach the milestone. He finished the night with 6 2/3 innings pitched, allowing two runs and six hits. He also struck out five.
“My goal was to go as deep as I could, get ahead of hitters. The first six innings felt good, got a little tired there in the seventh but it was a good team win,” Greenwood said. “The guys made a lot of plays behind me and we needed it, so hopefully we start getting on a little roll here.”
The Bees had an early 1-0 lead over Long Island in the first game of their three-game set this weekend when Craig Maddox grounded out to bring home a run.
Both the Bees and the Ducks showed good pitching with strong defense behind them, not allowing another run in until the bottom of the fifth inning when New Britain’s Michael Crouse hit a two-run single bringing in both Yusuke Kajimoto and Tsuyoshi Fujiwara.
Jon Griffin then doubled in the bottom of the sixth to extend the Bees lead to four.
Long Island, however, was determined to make the game competitive. Derrick Pyles and Alfonzo put the Ducks on the board with back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the seventh inning.
An RBI double by Long Island’s Ruben Gotay in the eighth inning off Brandon League cut the Bees lead to just one.
But New Britain added an insurance run in the eighth inning as Maddox doubled with two out and was brought home by a Jon Griffin single.
The Ducks were unable to score, ending the game in the top of the ninth inning. Shawn Gilblair pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to record the save.
“One batter at a time, one pitch at a time, hopefully we get a little roll here, start going, and try and make a little push,” Greenwood said of the Bees building momentum.
The Bees will face the Ducks for the series’ second game today at 6:35 p.m.
Shelby Iava can be reached at 860-801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org