Friday, March 31, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills girls beat Jacksonville twice

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills softball team stayed undefeated with a doubleheader sweep of Jacksonville Tuesday at Dupree Park. The Lady Bears won by scores of 8-2 and 14-4 to remain in sole custody of first place in the 5A/6A-Central Conference.

“The first game we played great defense,” said Sylvan Hills coach Mark Anderson. “We pitched great. We just didn’t hit the ball well. We hit it well enough to score eight runs, but it was still too sporadic hitting. We’ve got to get more consistent, everybody in the lineup. Their pitcher kept us off balance a little bit.”

Sylvan Hills took the lead in the first inning of game one, scoring a run on one hit, two walks and an error.

The Lady Bears then opened up the top of the third with three-straight singles by Joy Franco, Destiny Sanders and Lynlee Broadway; the third hit driving in the first. That left two runners on with no outs, but Sylvan Hills couldn’t push another run across in that frame.

Another error led to another run in the fifth inning. Franco reached on the E4, and Sanders doubled to center field to drive in the run. Broadway walked and Doma’Nique Hunt singled to load the bases with no outs, but again Sylvan Hills failed to add to its lead.

Jacksonville pitcher Lindsey Holt struck out the next batter, then got two ground balls to end the inning.

While Sylvan Hills (8-6, 4-0) struggled to score with runners and no outs, it did manage a two-run rally with two outs in the sixth inning. Storm Ellis led off with a single to center field before two infield pop-ups.

Sanders then singled and was replaced on the base paths by courtesy runner Maddie Hogue. Broadway singled to score Ellis and Hunt singled to drive in Hogue for a 5-0 Sylvan Hills lead.

Jacksonville (2-8, 0-4) scored its two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Allison Seats led off with her third double of the game, and she advanced to third on a single by Rebeka House. That set up a two-RBI triple by Jordan Moody that made it 5-2.

The Lady Bears added three in the seventh on four hits, including a double by MacKenzie Rodgers, and an error to set the final margin.

Sanders went the distance in the circle for Sylvan Hills. She gave up eight hits and two earned runs while striking out nine and walking no one.

Sylvan Hills got three fewer base hits than the 15 in game one, but was much more productive with runners on base, especially in the first inning. Jacksonville also had 12 base hits in game two, but could not get the timely ones.

Playing as the home team in game two, the Lady Bears posted seven runs in the bottom of the first inning to take quick command of the game.

Four singles by Carly Pozza, Ellis, Sanders and Franco made it 1-0 and left the bases loaded. That’s when Broadway crushed a grand slam home run over the fence in center field to an instant 5-0 lead.

Holt got Hunt to pop up to second base for the second out, but then issued back-to-back walks, followed by a double by Pozza that made it 7-0.

Hunt made it 8-0 in the third inning after a leadoff error. A Harper’s sacrifice bunt moved Hunt to second. She attempted to steal third and the throw from Seats sailed into left field, allowing the run to score.

In the fourth inning, back-to-back doubles by Sanders and Franco scored one run. Another error by Seats then allowed Franco to score for a 10-0 lead.

Facing the mercy rule, Jacksonville had to score in the top of the fifth, and did so.

Seats and House singled and Moody doubled to drive in one run. Emma Gartman then singled to score House and Moody, and Abby Hooper singled to drive in Gartman and make it 10-4.

Sylvan Hills scored one run on two singles, a walk and a hit batter in the bottom of the fifth, and then ended the game with three runs in the sixth.

Two walks and a double by Hunt loaded the bases with no outs. A third walk by Tristen Goodson made it 12-4. A single by Pozza made it 13-4, and a sacrifice grounder by Ellis invoked the 10-after-five sportsmanship rule.

In the two games combined, Sanders went 6 for 8 at the plate. Broadway went 4 for 7 with seven RBIs. Ellis went 5 for 9 and Pozza 4 for 9.

For Jacksonville, Seats went 5 for 8 four doubles.

Broadway led the win pitching in game two.

Ann Tharp contributed to this story