The Sylvan Hills Bears added four wins to their resume as they swept through the Walt Disney Invitational in Florida over spring break.
Played in a round-robin style without any bracket play, the Bears requested to play in the upper division and were grouped with four teams from Chicago.
Sylvan Hills’ first win came 4-1 against Grayslake Central. Nathan Thomas was on base throughout the game, getting hit by a pitch twice, singling and scoring a run. Chase Imhoff hit a pair of singles, Jacob White doubled, while TJ Burrow and Jacob Franco each singled in the win. Connor Poteet picked up the win on the mound for the Bears.
The Bears had solid pitching in every game, with four different starting pitchers earning wins during the trip.
Hunter Heslep was dominant in the Bears second win, 12-0 over Niles North. The junior went the distance, allowing just one hit while fanning 11 in the blowout.
The Bears scored all they needed in the first inning. Imhoff and White doubled in the inning, while Charlie Roberts singled. All three scored.
The score remained 3-0 until the fourth inning when Blake Maddox walked and scored after consecutive singles by Poteet and Mackenzie Seats.
The Bears took control of the game in the fifth inning with four more runs. Imhoff and Roberts hit singles, followed by doubles from White and Poteet as all scored in the inning.
Reserves came in the game after that and kept the offense going. Carson Sanders hit a single, then stole his way to third to lead off the sixth inning. Franco drew a walk, followed by a single from Heslep.
Grayslake North gave Sylvan Hills their closest game of the Invitational in a 3-2 win by the Bears.
Marcus Long started the game before giving way to Charlie Roberts. The score was 0-0 in the sixth inning when the Bears finally broke through with the bats.
White doubled, then scored one out later on a single by Maddox. Poteet tripled to make the score 2-0, then Heslep hit a pinch-hit single for what became an important insurance run. Grayslake North scored two runs in the top of the seventh.
The Bears final game came against powerful Fenwick Prep Academy, 8-5. The Friars scored the most runs of any team against the Bears, but they came after Sylvan Hills had built a 7-1 lead.
The Bears did most of their damage in the first two innings, taking a 6-1 lead.
Thomas led off the game being hit by a pitch, and then scored an out later on a double by Imhoff. Roberts knocked in Imhoff with a single, and then scored on a double by Heslep for a 3-0 lead in the first.
JoJo Craft walked and later scored in the second inning. Sanders sacrificed Craft to second, Thomas was hit by a pitch, and then Burrow drilled a single. White would later hit a sacrifice fly to center, bringing in Burrow.
Maddox got the start and the win on the hill for the Bears against Fenwick.