SPORTS >> Optimist Club survives scare
Leader sports editor
North Little Rock did everything it could to give the game to Sylvan Hills Optimist Club but the senior Bruins still made it a tense affair.
Nathan Eller came on in the seventh inning with the tying run at the plate and no one out and promptly set down the three batters he faced as the Bruins held on for an 8-6 win over the Colts on Tuesday evening at Kevin McReynolds Field in Sherwood.
North Little Rock pitching issued seven walks and hit five Bruins and the Colt defense pitched in with five errors but Sylvan Hills could turn all of that into just eight runs after managing only five hits.
Three of those belonged to Hunter Miller, who struggled on the mound but not at the plate. Miller scored twice and drove in another with two singles and a triple. Miller entered the game in the third inning and allowed seven hits and five earned runs in pitching into the seventh. He struck out five and walked three.
North Little Rock took the early lead on a Clark Sims double leading off the game and a throwing error on Sylvan Hills catcher Tyler Van Schoyck. But it was the last error by the Bruins, who took advantage of a throwing error by the Colts catcher to tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the first.
Casey Cerrato put the Bruins in front with an RBI single in the second. On the play, Ryan Dillon came all the way around from first on an error on the left fielder as Optimist Club took a 3-1 lead.
Jordan Spears pitched two scoreless innings for the Bruins but Miller came on in relief to start the third, allowing a two-run homer by Zack Ketchum that knotted the score at 3. Sylvan Hills left the bases loaded in the bottom half and North Little Rock took its last lead of the game with a pair of singles in the fourth.
Dillon and Van Schoyck walked in the Sylvan Hills half of the inning. After Dillon scored on a wild pitch to tie it, Miller gave the Bruins the lead with a triple down the right field line. Miller came all the way around to score on the play on a throwing error on the relay as Sylvan Hills led 6-4.
Miller set down six of the next seven Colts and Sylvan Hills added some insurance in the sixth, again aided by North Little Rock miscues. Cerrato reached on an error but was thrown out trying to get to third on Millerís looping single. Gino Jameson reached on a throwing error by the Coltsí pitcher, allowing Miller to score. Eller singled in Jameson to make it 8-4.
But the Colts were far from through. A double, a walk and a double scored two and made it 8-6 with no one out. Enter Eller, who got a ground out, a strike out and a fly out to end it.
Spears struck out four and allowed two hits and one unearned run in his two innings.
Sylvan Hills plays in the Sheridan Wood Bat Classic through this weekend.
OPTIMIST CLUB JR 10,
NORTH LITTLE ROCK 9
The junior Coltsí seven-run third inning didnít deflate the Bruins, who rallied back, then got a game-winning two-run single from Blake Rasdon as Sylvan Hills prevailed.
Sylvan Hills knotted the game 8-8 with a five-run fourth inning, but fell behind again when the Colts got a two-out double and a bloop single to reclaim a 9-8 lead in the fifth and final inning.
But with one out in the bottom half, Cain Cormier singled and James Pepin and Brian Chastain drew walks. Rasdon then lined a single to left center for the winner. Rasdon led the way with a 2-of-3 performance, scoring three times and driving in two.
Sylvan Hills broke out on top with a pair of walks and RBI singles by Greg Atchison and Zach Russenberger in the second. But starter Blake Hannon never made it out of the third inning, which began harmlessly enough with a strikeout. But a passed ball allowed the batter to reach first, and three singles and a fielderís choice put the Colts up 3-2.
Hannon surrendered three more singles and two more walks as four more Colt runs came across. Austin Spears came in with the bases loaded and one out and got a pop up and a ground out to escape further damage.
The Bruins got one run back on Rasdonís single and Spearsí RBI double in the third, but North Little Rock scored another run in the fourth to go up 8-3.
A walk, a Russenberger single, a hit batter and Trey Simsí ground out scored a run and a Coltsí error allowed Russenberger to score to start the Bruinsí five-run fourth. Chastain walked and Rasdon reached on a throwing error that brought home two more runs to make it 8-7. Justin Cook tied it up with an RBI single.
Spears got the win, going the final 2 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and two earned runs. Spears had a pair of hits and an RBI and Russenberger added two singles. Sylvan Hills returns to action Monday when it hosts Cabot.