SPORTS >> Sylvan Hills sweeps two East games from Cabot
Leader sports editor
The Sylvan Hills Bears got a huge doubleheader sweep from Cabot Tuesday night at Cabot, and in doing so, assumed first place in the AAAAA-East conference championship race. The Bears improved to 11-1 in league play while Cabot fell to 10-2, and saw its 14-game winning streak snapped.
Sylvan Hills got the two wins in drastically different ways, compiling 16 base hits in game one, but only winning 8-4. In game two, the Bears only collected eight hits, but took advantage of seven Panther errors to take a 13-5 victory.
Sylvan Hills battered Cabot ace Justin Haas in game one, but left several runners on base and didn’t assume full control until a five-run third inning gave the Bears a 7-2 lead.
“He’s (Haas) not an overpowering pitcher,” Sylvan Hills coach Denny Tipton said. “He’s got some different things and hits his spots well, but we just stayed back and drove the ball.”
After game two, an errorless game for the Bears, Tipton boasted of his team’s capabilities.
“I totally believe we can beat anybody in the state,” Tipton said. “Our success and failure depends a lot on what we do to ourselves. Our problem is we’re capable of losing to just about anybody. Monday night (against Catholic) we didn’t play good defense and got beat. Tonight we played defense and swung the bats and beat a good team.”
The big third started with three straight, one-out singles by Hunter Miller, Nathan Van Schoyck and Jarrett Boles, with Boles’ single driving in Miller.
Shawn Bybee flew out to right field for the second out, but three more consecutive base hits drove in the final four runs.
Mark Turpin singled in a run, leadoff hitter Taylor Roark doubled for two RBIs and Hayden Miller doubled to drive in Roark.
Six different Bears turned in multiple-hit performances. Van Schoyck and Boles had three hits apiece, all singles.
Roark, Hayden Miller, Gwatney and Boles all collected two hits in the victory.
Sam Bates and Daryl Murphy did most of the offensive work for Cabot in game one.
Bates got three base hits while Murphy had two for five of Cabot’s nine base raps.
Justin Free provided the highlight with a two-run homerun in the second inning that tied the game.
Sylvan Hills senior Ashur Tolliver got the win, giving up nine hits, three earned runs while striking out nine Panthers.
If only earned runs counted, Cabot and Sylvan Hills would have been tied at 5-5 after seven innings of game two, but the seven Panther miscues helped pave an easy road for the Bears’ nightcap victory.
Sylvan Hills built a 7-0 lead over three innings, but Cabot began to make some noise in the fifth inning.
The Panthers got three runs in the fifth, one off starter Tony Pavan, and two off relief pitcher Ross Bogard to pull to within 7-3. The Bears answered and got two of those runs back in the bottom of the same frame, starting with a monster of a homerun by cleanup hitter Austin Gwatney, who led off the inning.
Gwatney’s shot sailed over the fence in left-center between the 375- and 390-feet signs.
Van Schoyck then reached on an error at third base, and advanced to third two batters later on an error at second. That set up a sacrifice fly to make it a 9-3 game.
The Panthers added two more in the top of the sixth. Starting pitcher Colin Fuller was hit by a pitch with no outs, but was thrown out at second on a grounder by freshmen outfielder Drew Burks.
Burks moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double down the left-field line by first baseman Chris Gross.
Gross took third on a wild pitch, and his pinch runner scored on a balk by Sylvan Hills’ third pitcher Blaine Sims.
Kyle West then roped a line shot to centerfield, but it sailed right to Gwatney for the second out of the inning.
Sims then fanned Bates to end the Cabot threat. The Bears add-ed four insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth with the help of three walks and two Cabot errors.
Tolliver inserted a two-RBI single among the gifts, then scored on a rare two-RBI sac-bunt by Bybee.
Sims ended the game with a flare, striking out the first three batters of the seventh, but the final victim, Logan Lucas, reach-ed on a third-strike passed ball. Cory Wade flew out to right field on the next at bat to end the game.
The Panthers fell to 16-6 overall while Sylvan Hills improved to 15-7.
The Cabot freshman Burks turned in the best offensive effort in the game, going 3 for 4 and scoring two runs.
Tolliver was the only Bear with multiple hits. His first was a triple to right field that became a round-tripper when Burks’ throw to the infield went awry.