SPORTS >> Bruins win two games in event at Burns Park
Leader sports writer
IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills’ Class A American Legion team beat Sheridan and Benton, but lost to Conway in the North Little Rock Colts’ Memorial Day baseball tournament this weekend at Burns Park.
Sylvan Hills finished the American Legion Class A Memorial Day tournament with wins over Sheridan and Benton, and a Saturday loss to Conway. The Bruins earned the No. 3 seed from pool B overall in the tourney, but stormy weather hit Burns Park on Monday just as they were about to take to the field to play Fayetteville in the finals.
The tournament started with two Saturday games for Sylvan Hills. The early morning game against Sheridan was a thrilling 10-8 comeback win for the Bruins, but the afternoon game against Conway was a difficult one. Several starters were not present for the contest due to graduation at SHHS, and Conway took advantage with a lopsided 13-5 run-ruled win.
The Bruins only played one game on Sunday, taking a solid 8-3 win over Benton after the Sport Stop team committed six errors in the first five innings to give Sylvan Hills the early advantage.
The early Saturday game against Sheridan was one of the most closely contested games of the entire tournament. Sheridan held a slim lead over the Bruins until the fourth inning, when Sylvan Hills dished out six runs to take an 8-4 lead.
Sheridan answered in the fifth inning with four runs to tie the game at eight runs apiece. As time expired in the bottom of the fifth, Ross Bogard hit a two-run home run to score himself and Hunter Miller, clinching the opening-round win 10-8 for Sylvan Hills.
The Saturday late game against Conway was not quite as competitive. The Wampus Cats racked up seven hits and eight runs in the bottom of the first inning to put the Bruins in a hole that they could never climb out of. Sylvan Hills made enough of a rally to cut Conway’s lead to 10-5 at one point, but the ‘Cats had three runs in position when the time limit was met, and were allowed to score those runs to end the game under the run-rule at 13-5.
Sylvan Hills went scoreless in the game until the top of the third inning, when shortstop Jessie Everett knocked it over for a home run.
The Bruins trailed 10-1 until the following inning, when Conway left fielder Spencer Jones lost a pop up from Eric Bryant in the sun, allowing Cody Wood and Ryan Wood to score.
Two more runs were added for Sylvan Hills in the fifth inning with RBIs for Chris Eastham and Ryan Wood.
It appeared that the Bruins had turned a blowout into a more respectable result after solid defense in the third and fourth innings, but another breakdown in the fifth inning allowed three more runs for the Wampus Cats.
After scoring two of those runs, Conway still had the bases loaded. The final run enforced the eight-after-five run rule to end the Bruins’ frustrating game.
Sylvan Hills needed a win over Benton Sunday to secure a top- three spot in the finals, and got it with an 8-3 decision over a flat Sport Stop squad.
The Bruins loaded the bases in the top of the second inning. An infield single for Ryan Wood, coupled with a fielding error from Benton shortstop Bo Fulcher allowed T.C. Squires and Cody Wood to cross the plate for the first two Sylvan Hills’ runs of the game.
Bogard added another run in the third inning, and Everett and Ryan Wood increased the lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning off of RBIs from Ryan Wood and Miller.
Another double from Everett in the top of the fifth scored Chris Dalton and Eric Ryan to set the Bruins’ final margin. Sylvan Hills gave up two runs to Sport Stop in the bottom of the fifth, but it would not be enough.
Dalton took the win for the Bruins, allowing three hits and giving up two walks while striking out five batters through six innings. Eastham relieved Dalton for the seventh inning, giving up one walk and no hits to secure the win for Sylvan Hills.
The Bruins finished the game with eight runs, seven hits and two errors. Benton had three runs, three hits and six errors. The Bruins were scheduled to play Fayetteville in Monday’s finals, but Mother Nature took the win, ending the tourney a day early with rain storms.