Friday, April 10, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills beats Lady Devils twice

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills’ softball team improved to 6-0 in 5A-Central Conference play with a doubleheader sweep over Jacksonville on Tuesday at the Sherwood Sports Complex. The Lady Bears beat the Lady Red Devils 6-2 in game one and 10-6 in game two.

In game one, Jacksonville took an early 1-0 lead on a run scored by leadoff hitter Bailea Mitchell. Sylvan Hills, though, responded with six unanswered runs to take control of the game.

Doma’Nique Hunt scored the first run for the Lady Bears in the bottom of the second after doubling to start the inning. That tied the game at 1-1, and Sylvan Hills took a 3-1 lead with two runs in the third inning, scored by Tristen Goodson and Cara Pozza.

The Lady Bears’ most productive inning came in the fifth, when they added three more runs to their side of the board by scoring Pozza, Hunt and winning pitcher Callie Cavender. That gave the hosts a 6-1 lead, and Jacksonville set the final score in the top of the sixth with a run scored by three-hole hitter Kinley Burrows.

Cavender retired the side in the top of the seventh to earn the win. She threw all seven innings and finished with four strikeouts.

Sylvan Hills was the visitor on the scoreboard in game two, and scored three runs in the top of the first inning to take an early lead. Jacksonville, though, answered with two runs in the bottom part of the inning to pull within one of the Lady Bears’ lead, with the score 3-2.

Sylvan Hills, however, got three more runs its next at-bat in the top of the second – all with two outs. Tori Crites drove in the first run with a stand-up double to right-center field, scoring Cavender, who reached on a fielder’s choice the previous at-bat. That gave the Lady Bears a 4-2 lead.

Crites advanced to third base on a passed ball at the plate, and scored the next at-bat on a routine fly ball to straightaway center field that was dropped. Taylor Yeoman was next up for Sylvan Hills, and she reached base after a lengthy battle at the plate with Jacksonville pitcher Kym House.

Yeoman fouled off numerous pitches before reaching base via walk on the 13th pitch of the at-bat. That brought Storm Ellis to the plate, and she drove in Hunt with a single to right center, and as a result, the hosts led 6-2.

Sylvan Hills scored another run in the third inning before both teams added a run in the fourth, which made it an 8-3 ballgame. The Lady Bears scored their final two runs in the fifth inning before Jacksonville scored one run in each of the final three innings, which set the final score of game two.

Burrows led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a stand-up double to straightaway center field that nearly went over the fence. She advanced to third base on a 4-3 groundout by House the next at-bat, and scored on a Morgan Lloyd single to the left-field gap the following at-bat, which made the score 10-6.

The next two at-bats resulted in the final two outs of the game, with Cavender, who relieved winning pitcher Lynlee Broadway in the seventh inning, getting a strikeout to end the game.

Jacksonville actually outhit Sylvan Hills 14-11 in game two, but the Lady Bears had the more timely hits, especially early on.

“That’s the difference in the game is when you get that key hit at the right time, and you have people in scoring position,” said Sylvan Hills coach Mark Anderson. “I thought we did that really well – getting that hit, and our baserunners were really aggressive and were getting to where they needed to be.”

Also, Jacksonville’s two pitchers gave up a combined six walks in game two, while Broadway and Cavender gave up no walks in the seven innings played. Broadway finished game two with four strikeouts, and Cavender had one in the seventh.

“Both of them did a great job,” Anderson said of his two pitchers. “They did their job and kept it low-scoring. I couldn’t ask for them to do a better job.”

Despite coming out on the losing end in both games, Jacksonville coach Hank Hawk was pleased with the way his team competed throughout the doubleheader, and said his team has displayed the same level of fight, toughness and competitive nature all season long.

“There is no quit in these girls,” said Hawk of his team. “They’re tough. They get hurt and they come right back. If they are hurt, they won’t tell us. They stay positive. They pick each other up.

“They just stay positive, they keep working, and then all of a sudden they get back into ballgames. They’re a good group and they’re good softball players.”

Pozza led Sylvan Hills at the plate in game two, going 3 for 4 with three singles. Cavender, Crites, Hunt and Ellis each had two hits in that game.

Emily Lovercheck led Jacksonville offensively in game two, going 3 for 3 with a home run shy of the cycle. Burrows, Alexis Goodman and Savannah Mckinney each had two hits for Jacksonville in that game.

In game one, Pozza and Hunt led the Lady Bears (7-2, 6-0) with two hits apiece. Jacksonville, who fell to 2-4 in conference play after Tuesday’s doubleheader, totaled five hits in game one, with Mitchell, Burrows, Lloyd, Lovercheck and Goodman each getting one hit.