Friday, June 15, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Bullets crush Rivercrest in fourth inning

Leader sportswriter

NEWPORT – Advancing through the first round of the George Kell Memorial tournament proved easy for the Lonoke Remington Bullets, who lit up the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning and scattered runs the rest of the way to rout Rivercrest 13-2 on Thursday afternoon.

The Bullets dismantled Colts starter Garrick Lane through four innings in the first game of the American Legion junior tourney, with the Rivercrest coaching staff waiting until Lonoke had bases loaded with a 10-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning before replacing him on the mound with Jon Griffin. Lonoke brought in all three runs to set up a run-rule, while starting pitcher Chris Hart’s pitching got stronger as the game progressed. Hart struck out three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the fifth to end it early.

“We swung a little better today than we have been,” Bullets coach Steve Moore said. “They needed to start getting the bats going, and we finally did. Early in the game we had a few defensive errors, and our pitching good today. They are actually a good-looking team; they hit the ball well. We made some pretty good plays on defense, which obviously helped our pitcher out, and we hit the ball, so that’s what it takes.”

Hart was solid on the mound. The top of the order for the Colts gave him troubles their second time through the lineup. Hart gave up a double to leadoff batter Ethan Brown, who scored when Dillon McLamore reached on an infield error. McLamore then scored on a single to left by Michael Sellers before the Bullets were able to regroup. Sellers’ single was the last hit surrendered by Hart, who turned up the accuracy and velocity in the final two frames.

“He’s that kind of pitcher,” Moore said. “He usually does better as the game gets on. He gets a little stronger. He’s usually really good in the later innings.”

Every player in Lonoke’s lineup scored a run, starting with leadoff hitter Shane Pepper in the top of the first inning. Pepper singled to right and scored when Hart reached on an error at shortstop. Lane Moore sent Hart home with a single to left to give the Bullets a 2-0 lead at the end of one.

Christian James added another run in the top of the third. James popped up over the plate, but the ball drifted into the infield upon decent, causing Colts catcher Colby Brister to misplay it and give James first base on an error. Pepper took advantage with a RBI double to left field to give Lonoke a 3-0 lead.

Rivercrest threatened to make it a game in the bottom of the third with its two runs, but the Bullets came back in the top of the fourth with seven runs off three hits. Wade Stout was the first to score after hitting into a fielder’s choice. Pepper was hit by a pitch and Deric Herring walked before Hart scored Pepper with a groundout to first for the second out.

Lonoke did not let the two outs stop its progress by hitting three straight singles. Moore and Guy Halbert both singled with shots into the outfield, and Madison James sent both of them in with a two RBI single to right field. Chris Fisher then reached on an infield error before Christian James sent in the final two runs with a big two RBI triple to right center.

Moore was 4 for 4 with two RBI and two runs, all from singles. Madison James was 3 for 4 with a triple and four RBI while Pepper was 2 for 3 with a double, RBI and two runs. The Bullets will resume tournament play at 7 p.m. tonight.