Leader Blues

Friday, June 09, 2006

SPORTS >> Bruins split with Colts at De Salvo

BY JASON KING
Leader sports writer

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills AAA legion team shared a double dip Wednesday night against North Little Rock at Burns Park.

It was another split for Sylvan Hills in Class A and Class AAA American Legion play against the North Little Rock Colts Wednesday night at Vince De Salvo Stadium in Burns Park. The Class A Bruins dropped their second straight game in a 16-4 rout by the Colts. The AAA Bruins held off a late-game charge from NLR after holding a seven-run lead through much of the contest to win 8-4.

Sylvan Hills pitcher Ashur Toliver gave up three of his total six allowed hits in the bottom of the seventh, along with the Bruins’ only two fielding errors of the game that resulted in a three-run inning for the Colts.

Toliver hung on for the win, going the entire seven innings on 105 throws. The future UALR Trojan struck out 11 batters, gave up six hits and three walks, along with three earned runs.

The SH runs were evenly scattered throughout the game. The Bruins took a 4-0 lead after two innings, and added another pair of runs in the third before tacking on their final two scores in the top for the fifth inning.

A solo home run from Brad Swiderski over the left-field wall in the bottom of the third was the Colts’ only score through the first six innings, until they were able to take advantage of a tiring Toliver during the final frame for their best turn of the night. Toliver had sent them three-and-out the inn-ing before, but North Little Rock would come two batters shy of making it through the lineup in the bottom of the seventh.

Sylvan Hills’ first score of the night should have been the final out of the inning in the top of the first. After a pop-up to right from Ritchie Irvan, Austin Gwatney changed his mind on tagging up after the ball quickly made its way to the plate from Colts right fielder Patrick Strack. Gwatney was caught between third and home, but finally slipped his way out of the trap for the score.

The Bruins loaded the bases to start out the second inning. The Colts committed their first of two defensive errors on a grounder to left from Gwatney that scored Nathan Van Schoyk. An RBI single from Toliver directly afterward bought Taylor Roark and Shawn Bybee in for runs to put the Bruins up 4-0.

Starting Colts pitcher Nick Johnson was relieved by starting third baseman Kevin Coleman after Johnson gave up a single and two walks to start out the third inning.

Coleman got the job done immediately in the third, forcing a pop up to shortstop from Roark and striking out David Simpson and Bybee to deny a score for Sylvan Hills after having three in position.

Swiderski’s homer in the third was only the third hit given up by Toliver through six innings. The southpaw recovered from the slip in the following inning, sending the Colts three-and-out on only 11 pitches, striking out Patrick Strack, Coleman and Carroll Newton in consecutive order.

The Bruins doubled their score during their turn in the fourth and fifth innings. An error scored Toliver and Irvan in the fourth, and Toliver drove in Simpson and Bybee in the fifth off a double to right field. Sylvan Hills ended the fifth inning one score shy of activating the run- rule, but would only score one more hit in the game through the final two innings.

After pitching a near perfect game through six innings, Toliver had a little difficulty putting NLR away in the bottom of the seventh.

Coleman started out the inning with a bit of break for the Colts. The NLR pitcher’s grounder to Bruins shortstop Van Schoyk took a Sunday hop straight over him, giving the single to Coleman.

Brian Briles reached first with a single, sending Coleman to third. Both of those runs scored before a second Bruins error allowed Joe Kaminski in to set the final margin.

Along with getting the win, Toliver also finished with the best offensive stats, going 3 for 3 with four RBIs.

Van Schoyk was 1 for 2 with two RBIs. For North Little Rock, Dean Larson was 2 for 4 with a double and Briles was 2 for 3 with a pair of singles.

The Bruins started out strong in the Class A contest, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning.

The Colts would answer with six runs during their first turn on their way to a 12-run blowout win.

A pair of runs were added in the second inning along with three more in the third to give North Little Rock a comfortable 11-4 lead.

The fourth inning would be the decider for the Colts as they put up five more runs to set up the 8-run-rule the following inning.

Sylvan Hills AAA team will take part in the Jonesboro tournament this weekend, while the Class A squad will host Conway today in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

The Class AAA will get back to season play on Monday with a visit to Cabot.