SPORTS >>SH takes local foes for two East wins
By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
Sylvan Hills put on a vulgar display of power Tuesday night at Jacksonville. After an exciting and competitive, 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Red Devils in game one of their 6A-East doubleheader, the Bears hit five home runs, including four in one inning, in routing Jacksonville 14-2 in game two to take the sweep and move into first place in the conference standings.
Jacksonville took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of game two when Tommy Sanders hit a two-RBI single to score Blake Mattison and Jason Regnas. The hit left runners on the corners with two outs, but two groundballs ended the half-inning with no further damage done.
The Bears didn’t stay down long. Taylor Roark and Mark Turpin walked to lead off the inning, but Sanders almost got out of the jam by getting Hunter Miller to fly out to left field and striking out Garrett Eller for the second out. Ross Bogard then pounded a home run over the wall in left to make it 3-2 Sylvan Hills.
Both teams went three up–three down in the second, but the top half of the Bears’ lineup lit up the scoreboard in the third.
The 15-batter inning started with an out, but the line-drive shot to centerfield that was nicely snagged by Mattison was only the first of many hard-hit balls in the inning.
Mark Turpin walked and Miller reached on an infield single to shortstop to put two runners on base. Eller then hit the game’s second homer, a three-run shot over the right-field wall that made it 6-2. Bogard then walked and outfielder Davon Neal followed by sending one out down the left-field line. Pitcher Blake Evans struck out for the second out, and Sanders walked eight and nine-hole hitters JT Long and Clint Thornton. That brought Roark to the plate for the second time in the inning.
This time facing relief pitcher Clayton Fenton, Roark smashed one out to left field to make it 11-2. Turpin then reached on an error at third base, and trotted home after Miller launched a shot that cleared the scoreboard in left-centerfield. Eller then singled, Bogard walked for the second time in the inning and Neal singled to score Eller to set the final margin.
Fenton got the Bears in order in the bottom of the fifth, but the game ended when Jacksonville failed to score enough runs to get the margin under 10 in the top of the fifth inning.
Game one wasn’t so easy. Sylvan Hills got timely hitting and benefited from some untimely errors to take the 5-3 victory.
The Red Devils took a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning on a home run by Zach Thomas. Sylvan Hills tied it in the fourth, took a one-run lead in the fifth and scored its final two runs in the sixth. Only one of the four runs were earned.
Jacksonville mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh, but could only manage one run.
Jacksonville pitcher Seth Tomboli carried the shutout into the fourth, and drew praise from Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows.
“He pitched well just like he has for us all year,” Burrows said. “He just walked a couple and we made too many errors behind him. He held them down pretty well though.”
The results of the doubleheader left the Bears alone in first place with a 9-2 league mark. Searcy dropped to 9-3 after splitting a doubleheader at Mountain Home.
Jonesboro is tied with Searcy for second place and Marion is fourth at 8-4. West Memphis is 5-7 and Mountain Home is 4-7 with a makeup game still left against Sylvan Hills. Forrest City and Jacksonville, who only have each other left on the conference schedule, are now eliminated from playoff contention.