Tuesday, July 07, 2009

SPORTS >> Optimist Club remains in winner’s bracket

Leader sports editor

Justin Cook provided the arm and Lance Hunter the bat as Sylvan Hills Optimist Club advanced in the winner’s bracket at the junior zone tournament on Monday with a 11-1 cruise past Jacksonville Gwatney Chevrolet.

Cook allowed four hits and struck out eight over five innings and Hunter drove in three runs and accounted for three of Optimist Club’s six hits.

Sylvan Hills took on North Little in a winner’s bracket game yesterday afternoon while Gwatney took on Conway NBMC in an elimination game.

Gwatney took the early lead in the second without benefit of a hit. Chris McClendon was hit with a pitch and hustled to third on Zach Traylor’s ground out. He scored on a balk. But that was the last dent Gwatney would inflict on Cook’s line, though the
Chevy Boys did place two on in the third and let a great opportunity fizzle in the fourth.

Sylvan Hills broke through against Traylor, the Chevy Boy starter, with a seven-run third, which was helped along by four walks and an error. Will Carter reached on an error to open the inning and walks to Cain Cormier and Trey Sims loaded the bases.

Hunter lined a single to center to put Optimist Club up 2-1 and, after Austin Spears was plunked with a pitch, Blake Rasdon singled in two more runs. Traylor left for reliever Chris McClendon. Two walks forced in another run and a wild pitch made it 6-1. Carter’s sacrifice fly finished the Sylvan Hills scoring as the Bruins took a 7-1 lead.

Gwatney got something promising going in the fourth when it placed its firs three batters on. Traylor walked, Alex Tucker singled and Orlando Roberts was safe on a bunt single. But Brandon Russell hit a bouncer back to the mound and Cook turned it into a home-to-first double play.

Jacob Abrahamson walked to reload the bases, but Hunter picked off Roberts at second base.

The Bruins put the game away on a run rule when they scored four in the fifth. Brain Chastain struck out but was safe at first when Russell dropped catcher Nick Rodriguez’ throw after the ball bounced in the dirt. James Pepin was hit with a pitch and Carter singled to load the bases. Walks to Cormier and Trey Sims made it 9-1. Cormier scored on a wild pitch and the game ended with Hunter’s RBI single.


Jacksonville Gwatney Chevrolet made easy work of it against Morrilton in the opening round of the zone tournament on a sultry Saturday morning at Burns Park.

Gwatney got three hits each from Alex Tucker and Michael Lamb. Lamb not only drove in four runs, but tossed a five-hitter in going the distance in the run-ruled, six-inning affair.

Lamb pitched out of two-on, no-out jams in both the second and third innings and lost his shutout in the sixth on a double, a ground out and a fielder’s choice error.

But Gwatney mercifully ended the game early when it scored four runs in the top of the sixth to take a 12-0 lead.

Morrilton pitching issued 11 walks in the game, the final eight of which came home to score. Walks to Jacob Abrahamson and Nick Rodriguez in the first inning came up empty, but Gwatney broke through with a pair of runs in the second. After Zach Traylor reached on an error, Tucker lined a single to left and Lamb followed with a two-run double to left-center.

Lamb pitched around a walk and a single to start the second, and a single and double to start the third.

Gwatney broke the game open with four in the fourth, an inning that began with Chris McClendon’s hustling triple to right-center. He scored on a wild pitch, and Traylor and Brandon Russell walked while Tucker was hit with a pitch.

Abrahamson drew a walk to force in Traylor, who scored four times in four plate appearances. Kenny Cummings walked to force in Tucker, and Russell scored when Devon McClure reached on a fielder’s choice.

More wildness got Gwatney two more in the fifth. Walks to McClendon and Traylor, followed by a single by Tucker made it 7-0. Lamb’s bad-hop single past the second baseman scored Traylor.

In the sixth, Cummings was hit with a pitch and McClure, McClendon and Traylor walked. A wild pitch scored Cummings and an error on the play also brought home McClure. McClendon scored on the front end of a double steal, while Traylor came in on Lamb’s single.

Gwatney needed only seven hits to produce its run total. Lamb fanned four and walked one.