Tuesday, June 08, 2010

SPORTS>>Sylvan Hills takes third

Leader sports editor

Time was running out on the Sylvan Hills Optimist Bruins, but it caught up to Benton on Sunday.

Sylvan Hills survived a big fifth inning by Benton to take an 11-8 victory in the third-place game at the Gwatney Chevrolet Junior Legion Invitational at Dupree Park. Benton scored five runs in the fifth but never got another at-bat because of the tournament time-limit rule.

Sylvan Hills was sailing along behind starter Greg Atchison and took an 11-3 lead into the fifth. But Atchison tired in the 90-plus degree heat and Benton scored its five runs without a hit.

“He did a great job,” Bruins coach Billy Sims said. “Just the heat got him. Other than that he was solid. He’s getting better.

That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Atchison walked two and hit two, one each with the bases loaded to drive in two runs, and threw a wild pitch to allowanother man to score.

Aaron Sarna relieved Atchison and walked another with the bases loaded, and Benton’s Tyler Lewis added an RBI groundout to cut it to 11-8 before Austin Kennedy flied out to end the inning and, as it turned out, the game.

“We may not win but we play hard,” Sims said. “We’re just trying to get the younger kids better. That’s the main thing.”

Atchison was solid until the fifth, scattering four hits and striking out four, though he did give up three walks and three runs, two earned.

The Bruins, meanwhile, took advantage of six walks and five hit batters to take their big lead. Connor Eller hit a three-run double in the team’s five-run second, and he was replaced by pinch-hitter Trey Sims, who led off the two-run fourth with a home run over the center-field wall.

“Connor’s a good player. He’s a good kid,” Sims said of Eller, then turned his comments to Sims. “He can hit a ball; he hit a bomb for us.”

Pinch hitter Lance Hunter followed Sims with a single to left, then stole bases and came home on a wild pitch to complete Sylvan Hills’ scoring.

Jo Miller led off the game with a walk and later scored on a passed ball and Atchison singled and later scored on a wild pitch by Benton starter Gareth Stout.

Benton reliever Christian Shelton hit Brandon Farrow and walked Forrest Harrison in the Sylvan Hills third, and both scored on wild pitches by Harrison and reliever Holt Fulcher. Brad Neighbors came on to start the fourth and gave up Sims’ home run and Hunter’s single.

Benton got two runs in the second when Jarred Donnor walked and scored on an error by Sylvan Hills left fielder Andrew Terry, and Jeffrey Hodge beat out an infield grounder and scored when Lane Ballard doubled.

Atchison hit Collin Hunter in the third and Hunter later scored on a wild pitch for Benton’s last run until the fifth.

Sylvan Hills went 1-2 in the tournament with a 9-4 loss to Sheridan and a 5-2 loss to Jacksonville on Saturday.

“It was a good day. We let them play and let some of the kids play that normally don’t,” Sims said. “We let kids play that had been sitting the bench.”