On a night that got colder as the game grew longer, the Salem Greyhounds got progressively warmer as the innings grew shorter in the first round of the White River Classic at Warrior Field on the campus of Cotter High School.
After trailing for much of the first five innings, the Hounds finally climbed on top of the homestanding Warriors in the sixth, ending Cotter's hopes with three unanswered runs, en route to a 10-9 victory March 11.
Salem did hold the lead for a brief time in the home-half of the first inning thanks to a walked-in run of Warrior starter Cody Cheek.
Cheek plunked Greyhounds Mike Innis and Derek Batterton before Brett Sisler reached first via a walk to load the sacks.
This situation led to the Hounds' first run of the game, as Nathan Criss was also hit by Cheek, allowing Salem to take a 1-0 lead.
The Warriors picked up two runs in the top of the second off Greyhound hurler Dusty York. York gave up five hits while fanning four and walking six Cotter hitters in three-and- one-third innings of work.
Cotter padded its margin with three runs in the visitors' half of the third.
Kris Rogers got the Warriors going in the third with an RBI base hit, and Cotter's next two runs in the frame came courtesy of a fielders' choice and pitch in the dirt, placing the Warriors on top 5-1.
The Hounds wasted no time in getting those three runs back by crossing the plate three times in the bottom of the third.
Batterton led off with an infield hit, and Kyle Estes followed that with a single to center.
Brett Sisler swung the big bat for Salem in the frame, jacking a double to deep left that plated Batterton and Estes.
Josh Sisler capped the Hounds' output in the third with a base hit that brought Brett Sisler home, pulling Salem within one run, 5-4, after three.
With four runs in the top of the fourth, the Warriors extended their advantage to 9-4.
Criss relieved York on the mound with one out and one already across the plate in the fourth. Cotter then scored on a fielder's choice and two RBI doubles before Criss got out of the frame. Criss gave up three hits and two walks while fanning one in his work on the hill for the Hounds.
Salem kept Cotter from building a huge lead in the bottom of the fourth, as the Greyhounds added three more runs to their total.
With the sacks full of Hounds, Josh Sisler blasted a hit to right field that plated Chad Willett and Batterton to get the wheels rolling for Salem.
Estes then created a run on his own, stealing home from third base on a passed-ball to once again pull Salem within a pair of runs, 9-7.
Criss kept the Warriors quiet in the top of the fifth, allowing the Greyhounds to add the only run of the frame in the bottom of the inning.
Innis posted a base hit that brought Willett home to make the score Cotter 9, Salem 8, after five innings of play.
The sixth inning saw the Greyhounds move on top to stay.
Once again Criss got out of an inning without any Warrior runs crossing home plate, and the Hounds cashed this in by plating a pair in the bottom of the sixth.
Helping his own cause, Criss lifted a sacrifice fly to right field that plated Brett Sisler, tying the game at 9-all. Josh Sisler then scored the go-ahead run by swiping home on a passed ball, staking Salem to a 10-9 lead.
The Warriors managed one hit off Criss in the top of the seventh, but it wasn't enough to keep the Hounds from recording a 10-9 come from behind victory over Cotter.
Josh Sisler logged three hits and three RBIs for Salem, while Brett Sisler had a single, double and two ribbies. Innis posted two hits and an RBI, with Criss notching a pair of runs batted in. Estes had two hits, and Batterton one.