Leader Blues

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SPORTS >> Bears climb out of early hole to beat Searcy 11-6

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

In a showdown of established tradition versus growing tradition, chalk the win up to the establishment.

Sylvan Hills had four-run sprees in the fourth and sixth innings to claim an 11-6 non-conference win over Searcy on Friday at Kevin McReynolds Field. A three-run home run by Nate Eller in the bottom of the fourth broke open what was a close game, and the defending 6A state champs Bears were also able to capitalize on several miscues by the Searcy defense.

“It was a game where both teams made a lot of mistakes,” said Bears coach Denny Tipton. “When Eller got the home run in the bottom of the third, that’s what broke it open for us. The wind was playing tricks, but we believe that if any ball is in the air, we should come down with it, so there’s no excuses there. We try to play the best teams in the state and be competitive.

Hopefully we’ll keep doing that.”

Blake Evans picked up the win on the mound for the Bears. Evans came in relief of starter Jordan Spears in the top of the third when Spears gave uptwo straight hits and walked Searcy designated hitter Tate Ruddell.

Lion starter Preston Tarkington lasted one inning longer, but gave up much more. Eller’s blast over the left field wall chased Tarkington for sophomore Zach Langley, who was replaced in the bottom of the sixth by starting catcher Mac Ellis.

The Bears got going in the bottom of the fourth of a 3-3 game with a leadoff walk to Evans. With two outs, Justin Treece reached on an error.

Ty Van Schoyck then doubled to left, bringing in Evans to make it 4-3 Bears. Eller followed with a home run to give Sylvan Hills a 7-3 lead.

Searcy got two of those runs back in the fifth when Ellis walked and eventually scored on a passed ball and Langley singled to score sophomore standout Dillon Howard to make it 7-5.

Howard, the big 6-4, 205 lb. underclassman, went 2 of 3 on the night with a double, and worked even harder on the defensive side, playing third base, first base and catcher.

Blake Baxendale got Sylvan Hills’ final hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth to drive in Van Schoyck and Eller. Van Schoyck walked and Eller was hit with a pitch. Spears, who also walked, came across with the Bears’ final run on Michael Maddox’s sacrifice fly.

Searcy scored Ellis in the top of the seventh after he reached on a double to lead off the inning. He scored on Langley’s Evans-to-Treece-to-Spears double play. Evans ended it by striking out Tarkington.

It was Searcy that struck first in the opening frame. Jonathan Luthe walked from the two hole, followed by a double by Ellis and a walk for Howard to load the bases with only one out.

A single to left by Langley scored Luthe and Howard to give Searcy a 2-0 lead, but the Bears got out of the jam with a double play.

Van Schoyck singled and advanced on a double by Eller in the first inning. Van Schoyck came in on a fielder’s choice by D.J. Baxendale. Blake Baxendale tied the game in the bottom of the second when he walked and later scored on a passed ball, and Van Schoyck answered a score by Searcy’s Langley in the top of the third. Van Schoyck reached when his grounder to shortstop was mishandled, and eventually scored on the front end of a double steal.

Van Schoyck was 2 of 2 with a double, an RBI and four runs scored. Eller was 2 of 3 with a home run and three RBI. For Searcy, Ellis was 2 of 3 with two doubles and three runs scored. Howard was 2 of 3 with a double and Langley was 2 of 3 with four RBI.

Sylvan Hills improved to 22-1 on the season, and was scheduled to resume 5A-Southeast Conference play on Tuesday against Mills. The Bears will wrap up league play the following Tuesday at Beebe in a doubleheader.

Searcy (10-0 conf.) will play at West Memphis today in a 6A-East Conference matchup, and will close out league play the following Tuesday at home with a doubleheader against Hall.