Leader Blues

Friday, April 24, 2009

SPORTS >> Bears complete unbeaten run through league

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Beebe hung with Hillside for one game, but the bottom fell out in the nightcap.

Sylvan Hills ended its 5A-Southeast Conference season with 4-1 and 16-2 wins over the Badgers on Tuesday night at Gillam Fields. University of Arkansas signee D.J. Baxendale earned the win for the Bears in Game 1 before Nathan Eller pitched a one-hitter in the second game to give Sylvan Hills a 28-2 overall record and a final league record of 14-0. Beebe finished Southeast play with a 10-4 record.

The Bears will take the No. 1 seed out of the 5A-Southeast Conference and will likely take on Nettleton next Friday at noon at Lakeside in Hot Springs.

White Hall will be the No. 2 seed by virtue of a face-to-face tiebreaker with Beebe, which shares a 10-4 final league record with the Bulldogs. Monticello needed one win over North Pulaski on Thursday to wrap up the fourth and final seed in the Southeast. The Badgers will play the No. 2 seed from the East on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Beebe ace Roger Glaude held the Bears in check through three innings of the opener, until the elder Baxendale sent an offering over the left centerfield wall to lead off the top of the fourth inning. Centerfielder Zach Kersey had a play on the sinking bomb, but couldn’t come down with it.

Blake Baxendale then doubled to right, and Jordan Spears brought him in with another home run.

“We needed a game where we swung the bats real well,” said Sylvan Hills coach Denny Tipton. “We hit the ball well tonight. We needed this. The past couple of weeks, we’ve been a little flat. We made a few errors and haven’t hit the ball as well.

“Yesterday, we talked about how we have two weeks to try to turn it on and get ready for tournament play. We still had a few mistakes out there tonight, but I was real pleased with our approaches at the plate and how well we hit the ball.”

The hits came right away for Sylvan Hills in the second matchup, starting with a leadoff home run by shortstop Justin Treece in the bottom of the first. The next three runs made it in after Ty Van Schoyck and Eller were hit by pitches. Van Schoyck came home on a sacrifice fly by D.J. Baxendale, and Eller scored when Blake Baxendale blasted out the fourth Bear homer to give Sylvan Hills a 4-0 lead after one.

Treece singled to open the second inning and advanced when Van Schoyck reached on an error. D.J. Baxendale loaded the bases when he was struck by a pitch, and singles by Jordan Spears and Blake Evans drove in the three runs.

Glaude prevented a shutout for Eller with a pair of scores for the Badgers. He reached on a Bear error in the top of the first to set up the first score, and got Beebe’s only hit of the game in the top of the third with a single that led to the only other run.

Badger first baseman Lane Wood scored the only Beebe run in Game 1. He and Tanner Ball were hit by pitches, and Glaude delivered the RBI single to right field.

The Bears put Game 2 away in the bottom of the third with a six-run effort. They had only three hits, but Beebe’s defense had an equal number of errors that allowed Sylvan Hills to up its advantage to 15-2.

D.J. and Blake Baxendale were safe on errors in the inning. Spears doubled in a run and Evans brought home Spears with a base hit. Another error scored Evans.

Casey Cerrato set the final margin in Game 1 when he walked and scored when he stole third and the throw went into left field.

Pitching once again led the way for Sylvan Hills.

“The game is pitching,” said Tipton. “In all my years, this is the most depth we’ve had on the mound. In conference play, D.J. and Nathan have started every game. D.J. finished every game, and there was only one game Nathan didn’t complete. But we have Justin Treece and Blake Evans and Jordan Spears who have done really well for us in non-conference.”

Treece was 3 of 3 in Game 2 with a home run. Spears was 3 of 3 with a double and two RBI. D.J. Baxendale’s win in Game 1 was highlighted by 12 strikeouts, while he gave up four hits and sent three on with hit-by-pitches.