Leader Blues

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

SPORTS>>Bears forced to road

Leader sportswriter

It seems that about the only thing that can derail the powerful Sylvan Hills baseball team might be Mother Nature herself.

Last Thursday’s storms did extensive damage to Sylvan Hills High School, and also wrecked most of the Sherwood Parks athletic complex. Kevin McReynolds Field, which serves as the home field for the 15-4 (6-0 in the 6A-East Conference) Bears, was virtually ripped to shreds.

Bill Blackwood Field, home of the football/soccer Bears, did not receive near as much damage, but snapped light poles mean that the Bears and Lady Bears soccer teams will play the remainder of their seasons on the road.

Sylvan Hills athletic director and head baseball coach Denny Tipton said he believed the girls softball field will be useable by the end of the month, but for his own team, he said there is really only one option.

“We’re going to be road warriors,” Tipton said. “We will have to play the rest of our games on the road. Anytime you don’t have a place to practice, it’s a concern how much it will hurt you in the long haul.”

The Bears started the ’08 conference season on a tear, outscoring their 6A-East opponents 78-9 over the first six games.

Sylvan Hills used the practice field at Little Rock Central on Monday to prepare for a critical match-up with co-leading Marion yesterday.

“It’s not very good timing,” Tipton said. “But we’re the top two teams in the conference right now, so it’s a huge pair of games for both teams. Central called and offered their field to practice on. Everyone has been really helpful.

“We’ve had a lot of tragedy with everything that has been thrown at us this year, but we’re going to work harder and not make any excuses.”

Former Bears player Taylor Roark was killed in a car accident earlier this year.
Tipton said that around $8,000 worth of the school’s baseball equipment was damaged during the storm.

The schedule remains tentative, but Tipton said the home game against Jacksonville will be moved to Dupree Park, adding he also hoped to move the scheduled April 21 home game against Searcy to nearby Dupree as well.