Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SPORTS >> Bears get two in seventh to beat Central

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills and Little Rock Central had a difficult time putting any runs on the board in their nonconference game Monday due to excellent pitching and defensive play. The Bears took advantage of Central’s lone error in the final inning to put two runs on the board in the seventh to beat the Tigers 2-0 at Buddy Coleman Field in Little Rock.

David Carrasquillo picked up the hard-earned win for Sylvan Hills (16-6, 7-1) with a complete game shutout performance. Carrasquillo struck out two and walked just one in the outing, and the defense behind him was just as solid as the Bears didn’t commit a single error, and made play after play through all seven innings.

“If we don’t walk anyone and we don’t make errors, we’re going to win. That’s the key to the game,” said Sylvan Hills coach Denny Tipton. “They’re (Central) good. They were the hottest team to start, and started the year 9-0. They’re senior-laden and very good.”

Central (10-11, 3-5) proved to be a much more competitive team than its record indicates as the Tigers have a stable of pitchers, three of whom are expected to play major college ball after they graduate. Central’s Achilles heel this year has been its inability to score. In this game the Tigers left seven runners stranded on the bases.

“They have been struggling a little bit,” Tipton said of Central’s troubles this season. “They’ve been struggling a little bit getting guys home, but we knew it was going to be a good ball game. I knew we’d see a good quality guy on the hump.

“Our varsity hasn’t gotten to play since last Tuesday, and I didn’t really know how we’d be after a little layoff. I was pleased with our pitcher. David (Carrasquillo) pitched a great game, and I thought our defense played really well.”

University of Central Arkansas signee Clayton Booth, Central’s number three pitcher, made it very difficult for Sylvan Hills to get anything going at the plate. Booth didn’t allow a run, and gave up only three hits while striking out six and walking one through six innings of work.

However, Sylvan Hills showed some signs of life at the plate in the sixth when leadoff hitter Brandon Baioni doubled off the wall in left field to start the inning. The Bears couldn’t capitalize on the base hit, but gained a little momentum going into the final inning.

Carrasquillo was hit by a pitch from Booth to start the seventh, and Lance Hunter followed with a well-executed sacrifice bunt. As Hunter sprinted to first, Central’s third baseman, Joey Abraham, rushed the throw and overthrew it to first.

The wild throw allowed Carrasquillo’s courtesy runner, Nathan Thomas, to advance to third, and kept Hunter at first with no outs. After singling his last at bat, Dalton Freeling grounded out to third, and Abraham held Thomas on the base to prevent the go-ahead run, but Hunter advanced to second on the throw to first.

Connor Eller then came to the plate and hit a one-out double that drove in both Thomas and Hunter to set the final margin. Baioni, Freeling, Eller and Dylan Boone each had a base hit for Sylvan Hills.