Friday, April 29, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills baseball back on top

Leader sportswriter

Errors plagued Beebe in its 5A-Central doubleheader with Sylvan Hills on Tuesday at Mike Bromley Field in Sherwood, and the Bears took advantage of those opportunities, sweeping the Badgers by scores of 4-2 and 5-1 to stay undefeated in conference play and clinch their first conference championship since 2012.

“It feels good,” said SHHS coach Denny Tipton of the conference championship. “We’re playing pretty good baseball right now. We just got to keep it up. Our pitchers, they’ve been giving us a chance every game. The first game, their pitcher Angus (Denton) is a very talented pitcher. I think he’s won every game he’s pitched this year.

“They went with him first game and I was really proud. I thought we competed hard. I thought we played hard and I thought we found a way to win. “With that win it solidified us at least a share of the (conference) title. This one (second game) clinched it outright. That makes me happy.”

Denton, Beebe’s talented submarine pitcher that’ll be throwing for the Razorbacks next year, started the first game. He pitched all six innings for the visiting Badgers and finished with a game-high eight strikeouts and issued no walks and five hits, but Beebe committed five of their nine errors on the day in game one.

Sylvan Hills (22-4, 10-0) scored its first run of the day in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, River Hunt reached on an error at first base, and another E3 followed, which put leadoff hitter Michael Coven on first and Hunt at second with one out.

Denton struck out the next two batters he faced to end the inning, but not before Hunt stole third and then scored on a wild pitch to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. Sylvan Hills added two more runs in the fourth.

Game one starting pitcher Nick Fakouri and Ryan Lumpkin got on base with consecutive Beebe errors to start the bottom of the fourth, and both base runners scored on a two-out single to right field by Kyle Clayton, putting the Bears up 3-0.

Beebe (9-14, 6-4) scored its two runs in the top of the sixth. J.T. Nicholson led off the sixth inning with an infield single down the third-base line. Leadoff hitter Hunter Naramore followed with a single and Nicholson scored the next at-bat on an error at shortstop off the bat of Carson McNeill.

Naramore scored two batters later on a 1-3 groundout by cleanup hitter John Finley. Naramore’s run made it a 3-2 game, but the Bears scored an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning.

That run came with two outs. Zac Douglas hit a two-out infield single up the middle and stole second base with Clayton at the plate. Clayton then hit a routine ground ball that bounced through the Beebe second baseman’s legs, scoring Douglas for the Bears’ fourth and final run of the game.

Fakouri, who pitched all seven innings of game one, retired the side in the top of the seventh to end it in Sylvan Hills’ favor. Fakouri gave up five hits, no walks and finished with seven strikeouts.

Beebe’s Johnathan McGhee was the only player for either team with multiple hits in game one. He had two hits, and Naramore, Nicholson and Noah Jolly had Beebe’s other three hits. JoJo Craft, Carson Sanders, Douglas, Clayton and Hunt made up the Bears’ five hits.

Sylvan Hills scored the first five runs of game two. The Bears scored two runs in the second inning and added their last three in the third to lead 5-0. Beebe’s lone run came in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Nicholson, but neither team scored again the rest of the night.

Hunt started on the mound in game two and earned the win. He pitched the first three and one-third innings, giving up one hit, five walks and recorded two strikeouts. Mackenzie Seats pitched the rest of the game for the Bears. He gave up four hits, no walks and finished with five strikeouts.

Sylvan Hills outhit Beebe 8-6 in game two. Coven and Seats led all batters in game two. They each went 2 for 4, and Craft, Fakouri, Lumpkin and Sanders accounted for the remainder of the Bears’ hits.

Naramore, McNeill, Denton, Finley, Bryson Halford and Nicholson accounted for the Badgers’ six hits in game two.