Monday, April 23, 2012

SPORTS >> Bears sweep North Pulaski

Leader sportswriter

Errors were more frequent than points as Sylvan Hills swept host North Pulaski in a twin bill of 5A Southeast Conference games, 12-2 and 7-0 at Dupree Park in Jacksonville on Thursday.

The Bears (18-6, 9-1) dominated the first game and held the Falcons scoreless through four innings while steadily increasing their lead each frame. North Pulaski (4-17, 2-8) kept the second game scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Sylvan Hills went through its entire lineup and scored five runs.

Defensively, Sylvan Hills went without an error in the first three innings of game one before committing a pair in the fourth and two more in the fifth, while committing two more in the fifth inning of game two.

“First game, we did okay,” Bears coach Denny Tipton said. “I’m not really pleased tonight with the way we played defensively. We play better than that. I think we had eight errors in two games – we probably haven’t made errors in 15 games. So I’m not real pleased with how we came out and played.

“I thought my pitchers threw well. I think they got one hit in two games, and that was there in the last inning. We’ll take the wins, but you’ve got to take care of yourself, and we didn’t play well defensively tonight.”

Senior Connor Eller earned the win in the first game with a no-hitter through four innings of work before classmate Lance Hunter relieved him for the final inning of the run-ruled contest.

Senior Dylan Boone threw a complete game one-hitter through seven innings to earn the victory in the nightcap. Eller struck out nine batters and walked two in the first game, while Boone had thrown a no hitter through six innings of the second game.

He had two batters out in the top of the seventh when North Pulaski right fielder Austin Allen played spoiler by hitting a double down the third base line. Boone also struck out 11 batters.

The Falcons shook off a dismal game one and kept Sylvan Hills in check until the bottom of the fourth, when the guests scored five runs on four hits, including a three-run home run over the left-field wall by J.D. Miller that also scored Hunter and Eller. Alex Broadwell started on the mound for North Pulaski in the second game before Allen relieved him in the bottom of the sixth inning.

He walked Miller and Brandon Baioni, who both scored off a single to right field by Hunter Heslep.

“We scored some runs – I’m pleased with that,” Tipton said. “I’ve got high expectations, and tonight I just didn’t think we came in here and played very well.”

Scoring came easier for the Bears in the first game as starting North Pulaski pitcher T.J. Waters walked four consecutive batters in the top of the first inning, giving two-hole hitter T.J. Burrows a free trip home before Boone tagged up on a sacrifice fly to left field from Dalton Freeling.

Sylvan Hills took control of the game in the top of the second. Miller was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, while Jacob White and Baioni reached on errors to load the bases with no outs. Miller scored on a passed ball, and Burrows scored the other two runs with a double to left field.

David Carrasquillo walked to set up a three-run home run by Hunter over the left-field wall to gave the Bears an 8-0 lead. Boone knocked in another run in the top of the third with a single to center, and Freeling cleared loaded bases in the top of the fifth with a double to left field.

The Falcons avoided being shut out when Josh Greg and Broadwell both reached on errors.

Greg scored on another error when Broadwell beat a rundown at second base, and Broadwell scored moments later on a passed ball.

“We just made errors,” Tipton said. “We played a game on Monday and didn’t make any errors. Last Thursday, we didn’t make any. Tonight, we made eight errors. Basically, every one of my infielders had an error. That won’t win you games in the tournament.”

For Sylvan Hills, Boone was 2 for 3 in game one. Eller struck out nine batters and walked two through four innings for a no-hitter.