For four innings Clyde Berry Field at Henderson State hosted a defensive battle in a 1-0 game between the Sylvan Hills Bears and the Arkadelphia Badgers.
The visiting Denny Tipton-coach Bears took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an uncharacteristic infield error on a routine grounder to second. Arkadelphia kept the game close through the next inning, but Sylvan Hills scored six times in the top of the fifth inning and added five more runs in the top of the sixth to defeat the Badgers 12-0 on Wednesday night.
Four of the six Arkadelphia errors came after the third inning against Sylvan Hills. Seven of the Bears 12 runs came off of Badger miscues in the field.
“It is a 1-0 game and that came off of an error,” Arkadelphia head baseball coach Brant Matros said. “I have us for six errors and that doesn’t count the mental errors, which would make it eight or 10. Offensively, we had better approaches, we hit the fastball, but they made plays. They made routine plays and really didn’t hit any balls to the gap or anything like that, everything came on routine plays for us.”
Sylvan Hills left the bases loaded in the top of the first inning on two walks and a base hit to left field. Starting Arkadelpia pitcher Eric Groom struck out the last Bear batter, but in the bottom half of the inning, the Badgers went down in order with a pop fly to first base, a grounder to shortstop and a ground out to third base.
Sylvan Hills went down in order in the top of the second inning with Groom getting two more strike outs to his credit. In the bottom half of the second, Cole Kirksey reached on a dropped ball by the Bears first baseman, but Kirksey was caught stealing and a fly ball to third base ended the inning.
Arkadelphia had two ground outs in the top of the third on Sylvan Hills before a mishandled ball at second base on a routine grounder allowed a Bears runner to reach first. Next, a throwing error by the shortstop gave Sylvan Hills its first run.
After the Badgers went down in order again with two ground outs and a strikeout, the Bears threatened to score again with Peyton Eddington pitching. With two outs, a batter was hit by a pitch and the next hitter got an infield single to put Sylvan Hills runners at the corners before the final out was made.
Arkadelphia still couldn’t find the offensive power in the bottom of the fourth with a ground out to third, a bounce back to the pitcher and a fly ball to center field. In the bottom of the fifth, Sylvan Hills’ lead off batter was hit by a pitch and stole second base.
After a ground out to move the runner to third, back-to-back doubles scored two runs for the Bears. Carson Almond came in to relieve Eddington for Arkadelpia, but Sylvan Hills kept its rally going with a run-scoring base hit. Two walks followed and with two outs a dropped ball at first base scored two more runs for the Bears.
The Badgers went down in order again in the bottom of the fifth with a ground out to third base, a strike out and a second ground out to third. By the end of the inning, Sylvan Hills had built a 7-0 lead.
The sixth inning wasn’t much better for the Badgers. A walk and two singles scored another run for the Bears before Eli Perrin came in to pitch for Arkadelphia.
An infield throwing error on a routine grounder to shortstop followed, but Perrin got a fly ball out to first base and struck out a Bears batter for the second out. A single to left field scored two runs and an error in center field on a dropped routine fly ball allowed two more runners to score for Sylvan Hills and make the score 12-0.
Turner Pentecost started the bottom of the sixth with a walk and Josh Wallace lined a hit down the left field line, but on the play, Pentecost was tagged out trying to get back to second base. Sylvan Hills turned a 5-4-3 double-play to end the game.
“We had some different guys pitching and had a freshman come in and do a great job, but when you’re trying to get five and six outs, you’re not going to beat anybody,” Matros said. “I told them they needed to be embarrassed about that. I mean that’s embarrassing game. That’s four innings and we have to play seven. It is just routine plays, there’s nothing else. I can’t go out there and make those plays for them, they have to make those plays and they have been doing that in practice up to that point. They have to make routine plays, that’s all this game is about and they have to fix it.”