Friday, April 26, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Bears swept by PA, fall to third

Leader sportswriter

With the conference championship and seeding at stake, Sylvan Hills lost both of Wednesday’s 5A-Central Conference doubleheader games against Pulaski Academy, losing 9-3 in game one and 10-3 in game two at the Sherwood Sports Complex.

The Bears were the No. 1 team in the conference standings before Wednesday’s doubleheader, and with the losses, they’re now No. 3 in the standings as postseason play draws near.

“They just beat us,” said Sylvan Hills coach Denny Tipton afterwards. “They beat us. Tonight they were the better team. Hat’s off to them. They hit the ball and played defense, and we didn’t play our best. They handed it to us at our place and we had to take it.”

Sylvan Hills (13-10, 7-3) struck first in game one as leadoff hitter T.J. Burrow scored in the bottom of the first inning, but Pulaski Academy (14-10, 8-2) answered with nine unanswered runs before the home team scored its final two in the sixth inning, which set the final score.

Lawson Vassar earned the win on the hill as he threw all seven innings. He gave up seven hits, recorded three strikeouts, and walked just one batter. J.D. Miller took the loss for Sylvan Hills on the mound. He struck out five batters, walked four, and gave up seven hits and five runs before being relieved by Connor Poteet after the fifth inning.

The Bruins wasted no time putting runs on the board in game two, scoring three runs in the first inning. The Bears, the visiting team for the second game, responded with all three of their runs in the top of the second inning, which cut the deficit to one.

Brandon Baioni started the inning with a double down the third baseline. Jacob White followed with an infield single to shortstop, and Hunter Heslep drove in Baioni the next at bat with a line-drive single through the left-field gap.

Hayden Hawkins advanced White and Blake Maddox, Heslep’s courtesy runner, with a sacrifice bunt the next at bat, and White scored on a single to straight centerfield by Reid Fawcett. Maddox scored later in the inning on a ground ball to shortstop by Burrow.

Pulaski Academy all but put the game away in the bottom of the fourth with a two out, bases-clearing triple down the first baseline by Vassar. Vassar scored during the play on an errant throw to third base.

Junior Bruin pitcher Colin Castleberry kept the Bears at bay for the remainder of the game, and Pulaski Academy scored its final two runs in the sixth inning to set the final score.

“If we’d a won, you know, we were the one (seed),” Tipton said, frustrated. “If we split we were the two. We got swept so we’re the three. We’ve got to work on everything. We’ve got to do everything.”

Castleberry picked up the win on the mound in game two. He threw all seven innings and recorded 10 strikeouts without giving up a single walk. The Bears totaled six hits against Castleberry, but had more fly outs than they did hits.

Baioni and White had two hits apiece in game two. Heslep and Fawcett had the other two for Sylvan Hills. Pulaski Academy totaled eight hits in the second game. Vassar had three of those hits, as well as a game-high six RBIs.