Bonniwell, a junior, connected for a line-drive single to right field that plated Will Campbell from second to make the difference in the 3-2 game.
Campbell reached on a fielder’s choice when the Grizzlies were unable to complete a double-play attempt earlier in the inning. He advanced to second when J.T. Thomas singled to centerfield with one out.
Bonniwell never would have had his opportunity to be the hero on Thursday had Creekview not tied the game in the top of the seventh when Nick Williams scored on a single by Chandler Wold. The inning started when Williams was hit by a pitch. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Max Holton. With one out, Brigham Gary singled to shortstop, moving Williams to third before Wold connected for the game-tying single. A long fly to left field lifted fans from their seats with hope that Ben Wynett would clear the bases with a homerun, but the ball was caught by a back-pedaling Campbell.
Both coaches used five pitchers during the game in order to give them game experience. In the midst of spring break, neither Etowah nor Creekview had played a game since last week.
Creekview coach Mike Nayman said his team has had good practices this week, but getting in a game is important.
“Whenever you take an extended time off you are always wondering what you are going to be like when you come back out,” Nayman said. “I thought we had some pretty good at-bats (Thursday). It was good to our pitchers getting in there and throwing strikes and their guys did the same thing. It was a well-played game throughout. I think both game benefitted from that.”
Nick Rosemund, who pitched one inning and surrendered the game-tying run on two hits earned the win for Etowah. Wold, who entered in the bottom of the seventh, give up one run on three hits and retired just one batter.
Early in the game, the Eagles appeared in control. An H.D. Dillard home run in the third inning gave Etowah a 1-0 lead. They doubled their advantage in the bottom of the fourth. After a lead-off walk by Thomas and a wild pitch that allowed him to reach second, Tristan Mooney doubled to drive him in for the 2-0 lead.
Creekview chipped away at the lead in the top of the wild fifth inning. Williams singled to lead off, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball before Holton drew a walk to put runners on the corners. Holton then stole second before Tyler Greene hit a towering fly ball to left, which allowed Williams to score. Gary was hit by a pitch before Wold struck out. With two outs and runners on first and second, Wynett hit a liner to center. Holton rounded third and when Etowah’s catcher Mooney dropped the ball, Holton crossed the plate.
However, upon appeal, it was ruled that Holton had not touched home before entering the dugout and the inning ended.
Wynett finished 2-for-4 for Creekview. Williams was 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Holton had the only extra-base hit for the Grizzlies.
Jake Swan led Etowah with his 2-for-3 performance.
Etowah hasn’t been a stranger to close games. Of the Eagles last 12 games, 11 of them were decided by three or fewer runs and eight those games were decided by a single run. Etowah coach Greg Robinson said that it is key for his players to know they can win in tight games, but even more important that they do better at the plate so they aren’t faced with so many close games.
“I think it always helps to be in the pressure situations even though it isn’t a region game,” Robinson said. “Both of us had a chance to work some arms. We are both in the middle of region play. I thought it was a well-played defensive game. I thought both teams pitched the ball well. It was just a well-played game. We are all trying to find our gear going into the second half.”
Weather-permitting Etowah will be back on the field today, hosting Harrison in a non-region game. Creekview will be off until Thursday when it hosts Riverwood in a Region 7AAAAA game.