Tuesday, April 14, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Falcons earn a tournament championship

Leader sports editor

The North Pulaski baseball team won five games in two days over the weekend, including winning the Jaelyn Russell Memorial Tournament at Dupree Park on Saturday.

On Friday at J.A. Fair, the Falcons got a 5A-Central sweep of the War Eagles, winning 17-0 in game one and holding on for a 10-8 victory in the nightcap.

On Saturday, North Pulaski beat eStem Charter 12-2 and Mills 9-4. In a rematch with eStem in the championship game, the Falcons rolled to an 18-0 victory.

“Well here’s the deal,” said North Pulaski coach Michael Dean. “Because of all the ice and snow and rain delays and everything, we’re playing right now like we’re just starting the season. We don’t have an indoor facility or anything like that some of the other teams have.

“So we can’t do much if we can’t get on the field. So we treated this tournament kind of like our opening day. We’ve hit the ball pretty well. We have some good pitchers. When we get our defense up to speed and get it all together, it’s going to be fun to watch. I This is a pretty good team.”

On Friday, sophomore Zachary Douglass went six innings and threw a three-hit shutout while striking out 12 batters. No War Eagle advanced beyond second base the entire game. Sophomore third baseman Tyler Montgomery got two base hits, two RBIs, stole two bases and scored four runs.

The Falcons fell into a hole early in game two, giving up eight unearned runs on just one base hit. Starting pitcher Ramiro Urena struggled out of the gates, walking four in the first inning and leaving the mound with one out in the second. Chance Perry took his place and stopped the Fair rally. He struck out four, but was also pulled after consecutive walks in the third. Chris Penn took the mound and finished the game to earn the win.

Penn also led the offensive rally, going 2 for 3 at the plate with two doubles and two RBIs.

Junior David Broadwell got a walk-off, two-RBI double to end the game and seal the sweep for the Falcons.

In the early morning game on Saturday, junior southpaw Ean Collie threw a one-hitter over five and a third innings, striking out seven and walking two. Urena faced the final three batters and fanned two of them for the save. Penn and Douglass went 3 for 3 at the plate and Douglass was a home run away from hitting for the cycle.

Game two was feast or famine for Urena on the mound. He only gave up two hits, but walked eight and struck out five in five and two-thirds. Penn threw the last inning and a third for the save. Penn made it 5 for 5 in the tournament going 2 for 2 and scoring three runs in the semifinal win.

Senior Chris Hildreth tossed a no-hitter in the championship win over the Mets. He struck out seven and was one walk away from a perfect game in three innings of work. He also went 2 for 2 at the plate. Douglass went 3 for 3 with three doubles, and Penn completed the perfection, going 3 for 3 to finish the tournament 8 for 8.

Senior Hunter McPherson went 2 for 3 for the Falcons.

North Pulaski (8-4, 4-2) had a big conference doubleheader scheduled against Sylvan Hills on Tuesday, but the games were rained out. NP and SH are tied for third in conference play. They also have a nonconference game schedule at home against Bauxite.