Bears dominate Game 1, but Red Devils force third game

Published 9:07 am Saturday, April 25, 2015

Verbena's Garrett Deavers (left) tags out Billingsley's Dalton Davis at third base on Friday. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall)

Verbena’s Garrett Deavers (left) tags out Billingsley’s Dalton Davis at third base on Friday. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall)

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

Though host Billingsley dominated the first game of a best-of-three baseball series 12-0, Verbena clawed out a 4-3 win in the second game April 24 to force a decisive Game 3.

The two teams were scheduled to settle their series at 4:30 p.m. Monday, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinal round of the Class 1A state playoffs.

Verbena went down in order to start Game 1, and the Bears got on the scoreboard early with two runs in the home half of the first inning.

A leadoff triple by Dalton Davis was followed by a walk to Tyler Powell, giving the Bears two baserunners with no outs.

Joseph Nixon drove in Davis with a sacrifice fly to center field, and an infield single by Dylan Chavers scored Powell to make the score 2-0.

Pitcher James Barnett and the Bears defense again retired the Red Devils in order in the top of the second inning, while the Billingsley bats add one more in the bottom half of the inning.

Back-to-back singles by Eric Willis and Jarrett Acreman set up a run-scoring single by Davis to make the score 3-0 in favor of the Bears.

The course of the game didn’t change in the third inning, as the Red Devils once again went down in order while the Bears added six more runs to their lead.

Nichols led off with a single up the middle and scored on a double deep to center by Chavers.

Four consecutive walks issued to the Bears plated two Billingsley runners, while two more runners scored on wild pitches to give Billingsley a 9-0 lead after three innings of play.

Christian Agee gave the Red Devils their first runner with a one-out walk in the top of the fourth inning, but a fielder’s choice single off the bat of Grant Deavers and a ground ball back to the pitcher by Garret Deavers brought the half inning to a close.

The Bears kept things going in the bottom half of the fourth, with Chavers leading off the inning with a walk and Hunter Godwin reaching on a Red Devils’ error.

A two-out double by Acreman scored Chavers, and a double by Davis scored Godwin and Acreman to make the Bears’ lead 12 after four innings of play.

With Eric Mims reaching on a Bears’ error to start the top of the fifth, a Dillion Walker single to right gave the Red Devils two on with two out, but a ground ball back to Barnett was tossed over to first base to bring Game 1 to a close.

Barnett pitched a no-hitter through 5 2/3 innings. He ended up striking out two, allowing one hit and walk.

Davis led the Bears at the plate, going just a home run short of the cycle with four RBI.

Mims got the start for Verbena and pitched 2 1/3 innings, striking out one while allowing seven earned runs on eight hits and three walks.

Dillion Walker had the Red Devils’ only hit in the game.

The Bears looked to keep their momentum going to start Game 2 and put two aboard with singles by Nixon and Nichols, but a two-out ground ball to second base brought the top of the first inning to a close.

Agee awakened the Red Devils players and fans alike with a shot to deep center field for a one-out single, but after a walk to Garret Deavers, a ground ball back to the mound closed out the first inning.

The Bears struck first in the game when a Godwin leadoff single set up a run-scoring double by Kendall Elrod to give Billingsley an early 1-0 lead.

With the Red Devils facing the minimum number of Bears batters through the next two innings, Verbena turned the game in its favor with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Taylor Deavers led off the inning with a single, and with the intentional walk to Garret Deavers, a single by Helfin loaded the bases for Verbena with no outs.

Mims smashed the first pitch he saw in the at-bat to deep right-center field, clearing the loaded bases and giving Verbena a 3-1 lead.

Bryan Rasberry scored Mims by grounding out, making the Verbena lead 4-1 after four innings of play.

Powell and Nixon started off the top of the sixth inning with back-to-back singles for the Bears, but two fly balls and a strike out ended the scoring threat.

Billingsley went into the top of the seventh inning trailing by three runs.

Elrod led off with a double up the middle, and with Willis aboard on a Red Devils error, the Bears had two on with no outs.

A sacrifice fly by Acreman scored Elrod, and a Davis infield ground ball scored Willis to cut the Red Devils’ lead to one run.

A strike out would brought the seventh inning and game to a close with the Red Devils in the lead.

Grant Deavers pitched a complete game for Verbena, striking out four while allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks.

Mims led the Red Devils at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a single, triple and three RBI.

Garrett Harrell handled the pitching for the Bears, striking out two while allowing four earned runs on six hits and two walks.

Elrod went 2-for-3 with two doubles and one RBI for the Bears.