Leader Blues

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

SPORTS>>Sylvan Hills into state

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills 15-year old Junior Babe Ruth team earned a spot in the state tournament by taking the runner-up trophy in district over the weekend in Cabot. Sylvan Hills lost twice to Maumelle in the event to take second place, and will play in the state tournament at El Dorado that begins July 13.

Sylvan Hills competed well with Maumelle in both encounters of the seventh inning. They trailed 4-1 in their first meeting when a 90-minute rain delay halted the game in the sixth. When the two teams returned, Maumelle scored 10 runs in the top of the seventh to set the final margin. In the championship game, the two teams scored two runs apiece in the first inning and stayed tied until Maumelle added two more in the fourth. The score remained 4-2 until the seventh, when Maumelle again piled on five runs to take the championship 9-2.

“We hit the ball all up and down the lineup until we played Maumelle,” Sylvan Hills coach Walt Delt said. “Their pitcher was throwing 3-2 curve balls for strikes, which is cruel at this level. He’s a good one.”

Delt’s All-Star team got some good pitching in the tournament as well. Greg Atchison threw six innings on Sunday and gave up just two earned runs while striking out eight Maumelle batters.

“He did an outstanding job for us,” Delt said. “He’s not our No. 1 starter and he did a great job of keeping a really good-hitting team off balance.”

Atchison was on the receiving end of pitches in the team’s two wins. Sylvan Hills beat Jacksonville 11-7 in the opening round, and toppled Lakewood 15-4 later in the tournament. Cameron Graves was on the mound to get the wins in both of those games.

“Cameron had a fantastic tournament,” Delt said.

Atchison also led the team offensively, collecting eight base hits in the tournament. Jonathan Delt reached six times on base hits, including a three-hit effort in the win over Lakewood.

Delt also singled out shortstop Cory Arnold and utility player Michael Lock for their offensive performances in the tournament.

“We had a lot of guys get a lot of base hits for us,” Delt said. “We just couldn’t produce like we needed against Maumelle.”
Sylvan Hills’ opponent isn’t yet certain, but it will open the state tournament at 11 a.m. Friday, July 13 in El Dorado