Yard Gnomes Baseball

“(W)independence Day! Howard’s Grand Slam, Four Stolen Bases Fuels Greenville’s 15-5 Run-Rule Victory Over Peninsula”

July 3, 2024  |  11:58 PM
Written by: Corey Hodges (Play-By-Play/Communications, X: @The_CoreyHodges)


When your team is brand new, everything you do is a first.

In checking off a long list of firsts this season, Greenville (9-21) had yet to record a grand slam homerun.

That changed on Wednesday night as Aden Howard (University of San Diego) belted a grand slam over the right field fence in the 3rd, a crowd-pleasing shot that not only put Greenville ahead once and for all but also accounted for four of an eventual 15 winning runs for the Yard Gnomes in a pre-Independence Day victory over oft-played Peninsula (21-9).

Howard, who would settle at a final line of 3-4 with five RBI and a walk, extended his hitting streak to eight games and also recorded his fourth multi-hit outing of the summer. Wednesday’s stat stuff continued a red-hot start to the summer for Howard which also saw the Carrolton, Texas native hit safely in his first seven games of the season.

Surprisingly, Howard’s three-hit night was the only multi-hit game Greenville would boast as they garnered a lot from a little while also walking a season-high 16 times.

Keeping pace was the trick early for the Yard Gnomes as they never let Peninsula get away from them as a Pilots run in the 1st was answered with one in the home portion as Howard stole home (one of his team-best four swiped bags on the night).

Greenville doubled up Peninsula in the 2nd as the Yard Gnomes saw the Pilots’ two runs in the road 2ndand raised them a pair of scores in the home half, one of which accounted for the first of an eventual five RBIs for Howard as he singled in Maddox Miesse (Abilene Christian, RBI, four walks).

Henry Garcia (Louisiana Monroe, 1-3, RBI) delivered Zac Morris (Duke, 2-4) in the 3rd off an RBI single and in a flash, Peninsula led Greenville 3-2.

The home half of the 3rd started with back-to-back hit batsman as Jackson Halter (Louisiana Lafayette, RBI, walk) and Abdriel Delgado (Jacksonville) were both plunked by LHP Marcus Dux (Christopher Newport University) who would also give up a single off the bat of Zayd Brannigan (Georgia Gwinnett College, 1-4, walk) before he was pulled for righty Gardner Meeks (Roanoke College, 1.0 IP, 4 ER, hit, two walks).

With the bases loaded upon entering, Meeks fared no better than Dux as he walked Joe Siervo (Western Kentucky, 1-1, three runs scored, RBI, four walks) which forced Halter home. Meeks walked Miesse next and that brought Delgado across from third base.

Gage Griggs (John A. Logan College, 1-2, three RBI, walk) was the next to be hit by a pitch as Meeks was again off the mark against his third straight opposing batter, this one with the bases still loaded which sent Brannigan home.

Now leading 6-3, Greenville was already content with a strong start to the inning with no outs when Howard stood in following the Griggs HBP and proceeded to tattoo his souvenir baseball.

That grand slam broke the game open and the Yard Gnomes closed the book on the 3rd leading Peninsula 10-3.

Greenville added a pair of runs in the 5th and Peninsula responded in kind with two of their own in the 6th. Other than that, the next few innings after the 3rd were relatively quiet as the Yard Gnomes coasted into the 7th up 12-5.

Needing three runs to exit early via the run-rule (10-run lead after seven innings), Greenville got exactly the number they needed as Maddox Miesse walked with the bases again juiced to force home Abdriel Delgado and make it a 14-5 game.

A wild pitch with no room on the bases from Peninsula RHP Cannon Pickell (Western Carolina) allowed Joe Siervo to coast home and the Yard Gnomes put a bow on a 15-5 run rule victory.

The win marked Greenville’s second of the season over Peninsula and their first against the Pilots at Guy Smith Stadium in what was meeting number eight of 2024 for the two Eastern Division teams in the Coastal Plain League.

Lefty Reece Tarini (Louisiana Tech) went five full innings and got the win on the mound for Greenville as the Little Rock, Arkansas native allowed three earned runs on nine base hits but only walked one Peninsula batter. The victory for Tarini was his second in as many weeks as he also earned the win in four innings last Tuesday (June 25th) after a 4.0 IP, 1 ER, five hit, three walk, four strikeout performance at Morehead City (17-14).

RHP Walker Fuller (Barton College) started and took the loss for Peninsula as he lasted just an inning and a third while allowing three earned runs and four walks with one strikeout to counter. The loss was Fuller’s first decision of the season as he dropped to 0-1.

Now winners of two straight, Greenville will make the trip to Hampton, Virginia for Fourth of July activities on Thursday night as the Peninsula Pilots host the Yard Gnomes at Historic War Memorial Stadium for a 7 PM first pitch. Following the holiday game, Greenville will return home for “Star Wars Night” on Friday (July 5th) as the Tri-City Chili Peppers (10-17) make their first visit back to Guy Smith Stadium since May 24th. A 6:30 PM start time is scheduled with fans encouraged to “join forces with the dark side” per the Star Wars theme.

Notes: Total game time was three hours and five minutes