Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Bears win two at Disney

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills baseball team is 2-0 after two games in the Walt Disney World High School Challenge. On Monday, the Bears beat Grayslake-Central of Grayslake, Ill., 4-1. On Tuesday, in a 9 a.m. game, the Bears beat Niles North, Ill., 12-0.

“We’ve played pretty well down here,” said Sylvan Hills coach Denny Tipton. “We’re hitting the ball pretty well and we’ve had two outstanding games on the mound. We’ve won two games and only had to throw two pitchers. They’ve given up one run combined so you can’t ask for much more than that.”

In Monday’s game, Connor Poteet threw a complete game, giving up seven hits while striking out four Ram batters. Grayslake Central is the No. 3 ranked class 3A team in Illinois. Sylvan Hills’ defense gave up three errors behind him, but Poteet pitched out of trouble several times to keep the Rams at bay.

Niles North got its run in the top of the first inning, but Sylvan Hills answered with two in the bottom of the first and never trailed again. Nathan Thomas started the first-inning rally by taking a pitch to the hip. Chase Imoff singled to move Thomas to third. Thomas then scored on an error at second base off the bat of Charlie Roberts.

Sylvan Hills added two more in the fourth inning on four base hits, starting with a leadoff hit by Jacob Franco, who was then replaced on the base paths by Marcus Long.

Thomas followed with a base hit to put runners on the corners. T.J. Burrow then singled to score Long and Imoff singled to drive in Thomas for the final run of the game.

In Tuesday’s game, Sylvan Hills got 11 base hits and 12 runs, but it was pitcher Hunter Heslep who stole the show. Heslep went the distance, throwing a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts.

“He had a really good day,” Tipton said. “They weren’t able to touch him. He was just dialed in.”

Heslep gave up a single to the first batter he faced before retiring 21 of the remaining 23 batters he faced. Sylvan Hills scored three runs in the first inning, one in the fourth and four each in the fifth and sixth innings. The Bears committed no errors on Tuesday.

“Jacob White and Chase Imoff are both hitting the ball really well right now,” Tipton said. “They’re up there at the top of the lineup and they’re getting us off to good starts. But it’s really been up and down the lineup. We’ve had production from about everyone.

“And for the most part we’re playing pretty good defense. We had no errors today and that’s what you want.”

Sylvan Hills, 6-3, was put into a pool with all Illinois teams, and will face Grayslake North today at 1 p.m. EST.