Smart Dodge escapes jam, wins

WHITE HALL – Daniel Sprinkle pitched a complete game and the Smart Dodge American Legion baseball team escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh as it defeated Sylvan Hills 6-4 Friday night at the White Hall High School baseball field.

“It got your heart beat going a little bit,” coach Chris Bryan said. “We had a couple of miscues on the left side of the infield, but our pitcher hung in there and got us out of the inning.

“He was a work horse for us all game long.”

With two outs and a runner on first, Sylvan Hills reached three straight times to load the bases – which put the go-ahead run on first.

But Smart Dodge escaped the jam when catcher Gavin Bailey picked off the runner at third.

In seven innings of work, Sprinkle allowed four runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

“He was good early on,” Bryan said. “He was kind of overpowering everybody the first three innings.”

Sylvan Hills scored two runs in the fifth inning. With two outs and a runner on first, Sylvan Hills doubled home one run and tied the game at 3-3 with a double by Reid Atkinson.

“When they got a couple of runs, he had left a couple pitches up,” Bryan said. “They strung a few together on him and were able to push a few runs across.

“Other than that, he pitched real well.”

Sylvan Hills also scored a run in the fourth and a run in the seventh. Atkinson finished the day 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI, a stolen base and a run scored.

“They hit a few balls well, but other than that he did a great job,” Bryan said.

Luckily for Smart Dodge, they were able to pick up a pair of insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning.

“We needed it,” Bryan said. “I was glad to get those couple of insurance runs. I inserted a couple of guys late like Reese Roberts who came through with a big hit.”

With two outs and a runner on first, Roberts singled home one run and later scored on a RBI single by Conner Freeman. It gave Smart Dodge a 6-3 lead.

Smart Dodge took a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

With one out and a runner on first, J.W. Shelton reached on fielder’s choice, as an error at second kept both runners safe.

Freeman followed with a two-run double to give Smart Dodge a 2-0 lead. Chase Bryan reached on an infield single and an error at third allowed the runner to score and for Bryan to move to second.

Freeman finished the game 2 for 3 with three RBIs and a run scored. Bryan finished 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.

For Sylvan Hills, relief pitcher Dawson Heslep is tagged with the loss. He pitched four innings, allowing six runs on six hits with three strikeouts and three walks.

McKenzie Seats got the start for Sylvan Hills, but lasted just two innings. He did not allow a hit but he walked one and struck out one.