Friday, April 04, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Bears take easy pair from Mills

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills pushed its winning streak to eight games in a row Tuesday with a pair of 5A-Central Conference wins over Mills at the Sherwood Sports Complex.

In the first game of the conference doubleheader, the Bears mercy-ruled the Comets in five innings by the final score of 10-0, and won the second game by an even larger margin, winning that game 18-0 in four innings.

In addition to the two shutout victories, Bears’ starting pitchers Hunter Heslep and Connor Poteet each threw a no-hitter. Heslep started the first game and threw all five innings and finished with 12 strikeouts and three walks. In the second part of the twin bill, Poteet struck out seven Comets and also walked just three batters in his four innings of work.

“Our pitching’s been really good,” said Sylvan Hills coach Denny Tipton. “Our team ERA coming into tonight was 2.1 and we threw two shutouts tonight and they (Mills) didn’t get a hit. When you’re playing games like this, you just got to get them out of the way and move on. We’re pitching real well right now. We just have to continue to keep getting better.”

Mills entered the league doubleheader winless, and after Tuesday its record dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-2 in 5A-Central play. The Bears on the other hand improved their overall record to 10-3 after Tuesday and are now 3-1 in conference play.

Even though the host team dominated both games, the Bears didn’t have an easy time scoring early. Sylvan Hills scored two runs in the first inning of game one to lead 2-0, but didn’t score again till the fourth inning. In that inning, the Bears scored six runs to take a comfortable 8-0 lead into the fifth inning.

Jacob White led off the fourth with a single to left field. He then stole second base with Heslep at the plate, and scored soon after on a single to right center by Heslep. Blake Maddox then walked, and Brandon Baioni drove both Heslep and Maddox in two batters later with a stand-up double to right field.

Baioni’s hit put the Bears on top 5-0, and that brought the top of the order back up. Leadoff hitter Nathan Thomas was plunked by Mills’ pitcher Devin O’Neal. Baioni and Thomas advanced to second and third base on a pair of stolen bases, and TJ Burrow drove in both runners the next at bat with a single to the left-field gap.

Burrow later scored the final run of that inning on a passed ball at home plate. White scored the ninth run for the Bears in the bottom of the fifth after Maddox drove him in with a single to right field, and sophomore Joseph Craft scored the game-ending run on a passed ball at home.

Sylvan Hills didn’t waste as much time scoring runs in the second game. The Bears scored five runs in the first inning, one in the second, and four in the third before racking up eight more in the fourth to easily put the game away.

With the game already out of the Comets’ reach, Tipton subbed for several of his starters in the fourth inning, but Mills struggled to find the strike zone throughout the inning, which led to several easy runs for the Bears.

Chase Imhoff led the Bears with three hits in the two games played. White, Baioni, Charlie Roberts and Reid Fawcett also finished the day with multiple hits. They each had two, while Burrow, Heslep, Maddox, Craft and Jacob Franco got one hit apiece.

Sylvan Hills will resume conference play at Jacksonville on Tuesday with another doubleheader.