Monday, June 14, 2010

SPORTS >> Sylvan Hills takes a 10-2 victory over Jacksonville

IN SHORT: Spears’ home run in sixth is a blow that stops Gwatney comeback in senior American Legion game on Tuesday night.

By Jason King
Leader sportswriter

Austin Spears hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Sylvan Hills a run-ruled, 10-2 victory over Jacksonville Gwatney Chevrolet in senior American Legion action at Sherwood’s Kevin McReynolds Field on Tuesday.

Jacksonville had runners in scoring position in the second and third innings but couldn’t capitalize while Sylvan Hills took a 5-0 lead entering the bottom of the third.

Jacksonville fought back with a pair of runs in the fourth, and Gwatney reliever Jarod Toney held Sylvan Hills scoreless in the bottom of the fourth and fifth.

But with two out and two on for Sylvan Hills in the bottom of the sixth, Jacksonville committed two errors leading to runs and set the stage for Spears, who hit a blast over the left-field wall for the eight-run lead after six innings that triggered the run rule and denied Jacksonville a final shot at the plate.

“We had mostly good defense,” Bruins coach Jim Fink said. “It’s still early, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do. The team is starting to play a little bit better together, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Korey Arnold worked four innings for the Bruins to get the victory and Josh Fortner relieved him to start the fifth. Arnold started the game with three strikeouts and gave up only two hits while striking out eight and walking four and was charged with both Gwatney runs.

Catcher Trey Sims set the tone for the Bruins in the bottom of the first with a home run over the left-field fence to make it 1-0. Michael Lamb walked Michael Lock to lead off the Sylvan Hills third and also walked Michael Maddox.

Sims came up big again with a two-RBI double down the third base line and scored when Spears tripled to deep right center to put the Bruins up 5-0.

Jacksonville got to a tiring Arnold in the top of the fourth when Patrick Castleberry led off with a double and Daniel Thurman walked two batters later. Both runners crossed the plate on passed balls in what turned out to be Sylvan Hills’ only defensive lapse.

Shortstop A.J. Allen made Jacksonville’s best defensive play in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Toney walked Justin Cook, then Maddox sent a dribbler to Allen, who fielded the ball and made the tag on Cook, then made a throw on the run to Lamb at first for the inning’s final out.

Toney walked Blake Rasdon to lead off the Sylvan Hills sixth, but got him out at second on Michael Lock’s bunt back to the mound.

Cook hit into a fielder’s choice that got Lock hung up between second and third for the second out.

Toney walked Maddox and Sims popped up to left center, but Gwatney’s D’Vone McClure lost the ball in the lights to allow Cook and Maddox to score. Arnold got a break when Allen misplayed a routine grounder at shortstop to set up Spears’ game-ending homer.

Spears was 3 for 4 with a home run, a double, five RBI and three runs. Sims was 2 for 3 with a home run, a triple, four RBI and two runs.