Friday, March 21, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Hillsiders hammer Mustangs

Leader sportswriter

After splitting a 5A-Central doubleheader against Little Rock Christian on Tuesday, Sylvan Hills ended the week with a 14-0 blowout win over CAC in nonconference action Thursday at Mike Bromley Field in Sherwood, a game in which Bears’ starting pitcher Marcus Long threw a no-hitter.

Long struck out six of the first seven batters he faced Thursday, and the Bears made sure he had plenty of run support early on as well; not that he needed it.

Sylvan Hills went scoreless in the first inning, but scored five runs in the second inning, all of which came with two outs, eight in the third and added one more in the fourth. After the Mustangs’ hitless at bat in the fifth, the game was called because of the 10-run lead after five innings sportsmanship rule.

“The first game (against Little Rock Christian) we stranded 11 guys,” said Bears’ coach Denny Tipton. “Every inning we had guys in scoring position with two outs and never got a hit. Tonight, we got some hits with two outs.

“We just blew opportunity after opportunity Tuesday swinging the bat. Today, we hit the ball hard and I thought we played real well. Marcus Long throws a no-hitter. Any time you have a pitcher come out and throw a no-hitter, you do a great job.”

In addition to the no-hitter, Long started the Bears’ two-out rally in the bottom of the second inning. With Jacob White and Connor Poteet at second and third base, Long hit a double down the left-field line that scored both runners and gave Sylvan Hills all the runs it would need.

Leadoff hitter Nathan Thomas then came to the plate and singled to center field, and the next at bat, TJ Burrow hit a stand-up triple off the wall in right field that drove in Long and Thomas, giving the Bears a 4-0 lead.

Catcher Chase Imoff then came to the plate and hit a double to deep left-center that allowed Burrow to easily cross home plate and set the Bears’ run total for the inning.

Sylvan Hills put the game away in the bottom of the third with its eight runs scored, and even though Tipton subbed in for several starters in the fourth, the Bears added one more run to their side of the board to set the final score.

CAC relief pitcher Hunter Corbell had some control problems in the fourth and loaded the bases before junior Blake Maddox approached the plate. Maddox battled with Corbell, but was eventually walked, and he got an easy RBI after Thomas scored the 14th and final run of the game.

Sylvan Hills finished with 13 hits. White went 3 for 3 with three doubles. Burrow, Imoff and Reid Fawcett each had two hits, while teammates Thomas, Long, Hunter Heslep and Haden Hawkins totaled one hit apiece.

On the mound, Long struck out seven CAC batters in the five innings played and walked just three. The Mustangs’ record fell to 3-4 with the loss.

The Bears (4-3, 1-1) are on spring break next week, but will still play games, albeit in Orlando, Fla. Sylvan Hills will play in the Walt Disney World Classic that’ll take place Monday through Thursday.

Bears’ softball wins

The Lady Bears’ softball team also got a win Thursday. They came from behind to beat Fordyce 6-5 in an exciting nonconference game at the Sherwood Sports Complex.

The Lady Bears entered the bottom of the seventh inning down 5-3, but came back and tied the game at 5-5 before Jordie Flippo drove in the game-winning run with a base hit.

Callie Cavender got the win as the starting pitcher as a result. She threw all seven innings and recorded seven strikeouts. At the plate, Flippo and Cara Pozza each went 3 for 4, while teammates Cavender and Ashley Broadway each went 2 for 3.

The Lady Bears now have an overall record of 7-3 and are a perfect 2-0 in 5A-Central play.