SPORTS >> 'A' Bruins breeze past Greenbrier
Leader staff writer
Sylvan Hills’ class A team cruised through the first round of their zone tournament Thursday night, beating Greenbrier 10-2 and advancing to the second round.
Sylvan Hills cruised through the opening round of the American Legion Class A zone tournament at Vince De Salvo Stadium in Burns Park with a 10-2 win over Greenbrier Thursday.
The Bruins and the Panthers kicked off the tournament, with the winner advancing to face Jack-sonville in the second round Friday night. Gwatney received an opening-round bye for the tourney with the second-best record of the regular season.
Ross Bogard carried much of the weight for Sylvan Hills at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two triples, a home run and a pair of RBIs.
“Chris Eastham pitched a good game for us, and the guys played solid defense,” Bruins coach Jim Fink said. “Ross Bogard came out and really hit the ball for us too.”
The second and fifth innings were key for the Bruins offensively. Sylvan Hills scored nine of its total 10 runs in the contest in those two frames, taking a 4-0 lead after two innings and adding the final five runs in the fifth after Bogard’s solo homer in the bottom of the third.
Chris Eastham took the win at the mound for the Bruins. Eastham went all seven innings, giving up seven hits while allowing two walks and striking out eight batters.
It didn’t take Eastham long to get warmed up in the top of the first inning. Eastham struck out lead-off Greenbrier batter Tyler Harden in a matter of three pitches. Brent Henderson got the first hit of the game from the two-hole slot with a shot down the third base line, but the next two batters grounded out to end the Panther’s turn.
The Bruins went three-and-out during their first stint at the plate, with two groundouts and a K against Chris Dalton. Greenbrier got its second hit in the top of the second with a shot to left field from Kyle Hillis. During Ryan Wolfe’s turn at the plate, Hillis stole second, and then went for third just as Eastham struck Wolfe out. Bruins catcher Cody Cordmier made the throw to third baseman Dalton, and Hillis was tagged for the third out of the turn.
Sylvan Hills needed a spark to get them going offensively in the bottom of the second inning. That spark was overwhelmingly provided by Bogard to lead off the turn. Bogard sent the ball to deep center, rounding the bases to third by the time the Panthers got the ball back to the infield. An E3 put Cody Wood safely at first and allowed Bogard to score, giving Sylvan Hills a 1-0 lead.
A walk for T.C. Squires and a single for DH Brandon Chastain loaded the bases. Wood came home on a fielder’s choice smack from Cordmier, and Squires snuck past Panthers catcher Cody Garlington on a fielder’s choice from Blake Rix. The catcher missed the throw to the plate, but Squires missed the plate completely as he slid across. At the urging of the crowd and his teammates, Squires went back and touched the plate for the third SH run of the game. A double from Jessie Everett brought in Cordmier for the final run of the inning, giving the Bruins a 4-0 lead after two.
Greenbrier made up two of those runs in the top of the third. Harden scored off a double from Henderson, and Henderson came in courtesy of a Tanner Burrough double.
The game had the look of a run-fest until directly after Bogard’s home run in the bottom of the third. Bogard led off the inning with the smack over the centerfield wall, increasing Sylvan Hills’ lead to 5-2. Panthers pitcher Adam Chapman recovered well after giving up the HR, striking out the following three batters to end the inning.
Eastham answered Chapman in the top of the fourth, striking out three consecutive batters to send the Bruins back to the plate.
The defensive struggle carried on until the bottom of the fifth, when the Sylvan Hills bats came to life once again. After Dalton reached first on an error, Bogard got things rolling once again with his second triple of the game to drive Dalton in. Bogard scored off a Wood single, and Squires and Chastain loaded the bases for the Bruins with only one out.
Greenbrier put Burrough at the mound to try and slow the SH bombardment, but it didn’t work. Another error scored Wood, and force walks gave Chastain and Cordmier free trips to the plate for the final two runs of the game.
Sylvan Hills finished the game with 10 runs, nine hits and two errors. Greenbrier had two runs, seven hits and five errors. The Bruins moved on to play Jacksonville in the second round Friday night after Leader deadlines.