SPORTS>>Sylvan Hills gets payback
It took everything they had, but Sylvan Hills swept Gwatney Chevrolet in an American Legion Class A and AAA doubleheader Tuesday night at Kevin McReynolds Field. The A Bruins needed a run by Cody Cormier in the bottom of the fifth inning to break a 5-5 tie as the time limit expired, and the AAA squad had to hold off a stubborn Jacksonville team in the finale for a 10-7 win.
The evening got off to a late start from its scheduled time of 6 p.m., and they were only an hour away from midnight when Bruins reliever Tony Pavan struck out Carry Simena in the top of the seventh inning to end the marathon affair.
The first two innings had the look of a Sylvan Hills blowout, as the Bruins racked up a 7-0 lead. But the Chevy boys would not fade quietly into the night, however, as they answered three of those scores in the top of the third inning before pulling to within a single score in the top of the sixth inning when Zach Thomas plated Simena with a dripper to shallow left field.
That would make it 8-7, but Sylvan Hills was able to add a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to secure the win.
The hits came easy for the Bruins in the opening innings. Leadoff batter Taylor Roark got things going with a single in the bottom of the first. Nathan Eller would also single from the two-hole slot before SH starting pitcher Ross Bogard drove in Roark with a sacrifice bunt.
Eller would then score on a single by Joe Gardener to give the Bruins a 2-0 after one. Blaine Sims singled to start the bottom of the second inning for Sylvan Hills, and advanced on a bunt by Shane Graham.
It went back to the top of the order at that point, and Roark was walked to put two on. One run scored on a fielding error off a smack to second base by Bogard, and the next scored on the second single of the night for Gardener. Before the inning was up, Ryan Wood and T.C. Squires both added to the hit totals for Sylvan Hills with a pair of singles, and Gardener came in to give the Bruins a seemingly comfortable 7-0 lead.
Gwatney needed to score in order to stay in the game in the top of the third inning. During their first two turns, the Chevy boys only managed one hit in the top of the first against Bogard, but the bats finally warmed up for the third, with the first five batters reaching base.
Leadoff batter Adam Ussery was the first to make it on, and a single for Blake Mattison put two runners on before Cameron Hood drove in Ussery with a single for the first Jacksonville score of the game. Hood would eventually make it in himself, and Zach Thomas would add the third run for Gwatney after a single put him on the diamond.
The Bruins started to work towards shortening the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, but would only manage one run from Wood to increase their lead to 8-4.
Bogard had an up-and-down game at the mound for Sylvan Hills. The UALR signee struck out nine batters through five and two thirds innings, but also gave up nine hits to Gwatney, including a double to Thomas that would lead to a score in the top of the fifth inning. Hood got the first run of the inning for Jacksonville when he reached on an error and crossed on a passed ball. The two runs cut the Bruins lead to 8-6, and Gwatney took advantage of Bogardís increasing fatigue one inning later.
Simena came away with an infield single to start things off for Gwatney in the top of the fifth, and advanced on a solid bunt by Ussery. Bogard looked as if he had things in hand at that point with his ninth strikeout, but when he tagged Hood hard with the ball one batter later, Bruins coach Mike Bromley pulled him and went with fellow future DIer Pavan.
The ASU signee got off to a shaky start when Thomas sent his second offering of the game into left field to score Simena, but he then struck out four of his last five batters, including one that would have ended the game until the third strike got by SH catcher Roark to allow the Jacksonville runner to make it on.
Chris Eastham and Sims added the final two scores for the Bruins in the bottom of the sixth. Eastham tagged on a fly to center from Roark, and Sims was driven in by a single from Nathan Eller for the gameís final run.