The season is barely a week old, and Sylvan Hills’ head coach Denny Tipton is already on a roller coaster ride.
In three games, the Bears have lost close, been blown out, and have a gritty comeback win.
In game one, the Bears lost 3-2 to Vilonia after facing Eagles’ ace Ryan Ayers who is an early signee with Arkansas State.
In the Bears’ second game of the season, the Cabot Panthers put up an 8-spot on the Bears on their way to a 10-0 rout in the opening round of the Jacksonville tournament.
Then the Bears had to face Vilonia again, and what did the Eagles do, but put up five runs early on Sylvan Hills to take a fast 5-0 lead.
“Here we go again,” Tipton said, “but our guys didn’t quit.”
The Bears clawed back with two runs in the bottom of the first, another run in the second, and tied the game with two more in the fourth to tie the game at 5-5. The tie stood into the seventh when the Eagles got two more to put the Bears’ backs against the wall again trailing 7-5 going into the bottom of the seventh.
The Bears didn’t quit. They matched Vilonia and tied the game once again at seven. In the top of the ninth, the Eagles went ahead again 8-7.
“We could have folded several times,” Tipton said, “but we didn’t.”
They tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and won it on Blake Maddox’s double that scored Hunter Heslep all the way around from first base.
Maddox hadn’t had a hit all year before his game-winning double.
“It sure was a good time to get his first one,” Tipton said.
Hopefully, for Tipton’s nerves’ sake, the roller coaster of the last three days will level off into a successful season. The way it’s started, it could be a wild ride.