Thursday, April 5, 2012
Byers falls to Myrtle
By CLAUDE VINSON
The H.W. Byers Lions welcomed an all-too-familiar foe Tuesday of last week. The Myrtle Hawks were in town on an almost perfect day for ball on the diamond.
The Lions were putting their 2-1 record up against a team which already had 11 games in its backpack.
Chance Lykens took the mound first – pitching to the Hawks who had vanquished seven of 11 opponents on the young season. The first two hitters made contact but never made it to the base. The first was thrown out by the shortstop, Tre Stephens, and the second was cut off by Zac Caldwell, the second baseman. Kyle Skelton was holding down first base and applying the receiving glove work. Austen Floyd was the next batter in rotation and he gained a base on a Lion error. The side was sent to the field when the following batter grounded to the pitcher.
The Lions started their first turn at the plate swinging heavy metal and wood. They were facing Syd Beasley, the starting hurler for the visitors. Justin Sellers was the lead batter for the Lions and he got on via a passed ball. He was immediately relieved by a replacement runner, Courtney Fitzpatrick. Next handling the wood was Stephens, who whacked a hard line-double and drove in Fitzpatrick. Skelton was up next and banged a single which made it all the way to the left field. Skelton, who had been held up at first, stole home on a series of Hawk errors. They completed the inning 2-0.
The Hawks got over their initial shock and rapped a couple of hits. They scored a go-ahead run on a Lion error and two more in quick succession, one on errors and one on a hit batter.
Coach Bo Sellers made a hill change after two base runners made it home on errors. He sent Skelton in to relieve Lykens. Skelton struck out the last batter to retire the side but the Hawks had taken a 7-2 lead.
Skelton hit another double when he came up, but the ledger started to slip to the negative. No other Lion made it to the base and Skelton was thrown out on a try for third. The score was still 7-2.
The Lions held the Hawks scoreless on their next at-bat. The Lions again began to make some noise. They were getting to the Myrtle pitcher and the coaches switched, sending in Brandon Perkins to spell Beasley. Byers had two men on when Sellers stroked a single and advanced a runner to third. Stephens hit, got on and sent a teammate in. Chris Echols doubled and picked up another RBI. Stephens went in for a belly landing at third, loading the bases again. Lykens doubled and drove in runners on second and third. The Hawks shut the mill down after that but the Lions had grabbed four big runs to make it 7-6.
Things went downhill for Byers again in the top of the fourth. Anthony Lipsey tripled for Myrtle and the gates opened. The Hawks collected five hits and five runs to pick up the pace once more. The bottom of the fourth saw Byers turned away again empty handed. After four complete it was 12-6 in favor of the visitors.
It was all Myrtle for the next one and a half innings as the Hawks pulled in five more scores to lock it up at 17-6. During their last at-bat, the Lions left one man on in the bottom of the sixth.
Byers collected seven hits over the course of the game. The pitching staff gave out five walks and recorded two strikeouts. They had nine steals and made eight errors.
The Lions, 2-2 on the season, were scheduled to play Blue Mountain on March 29 but the game was cancelled. Byers’ schedule calls for a home game versus Ashland on Tuesday of this week and then a three-game road swing to West Union, Coldwater and Myrtle.
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