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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Eagles soar to regional title game

  • West Side set up a rematch of the district championship game by beating Mount Vernon-Enola 3-0 on Friday and Sacred Heart 7-2 on Saturday behind strong pitching from right-handers Bryce Hipp and Hayden Gilmore.
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  • West Side set up a rematch of the district championship game by beating Mount Vernon-Enola 3-0 on Friday and Sacred Heart 7-2 on Saturday behind strong pitching from right-handers Bryce Hipp and Hayden Gilmore.
    The Eagles (19-2), whose only two regular season losses came to South Side Bee Branch, will play the Hornets for a fourth time to determine the 1A Region 3 champion.
    West Side 3, MVE 0
    West Side senior pitcher Bryce Hipp handcuffed Mount Vernon-Enola, limiting the Warhawks to only four hits while striking out six as the Eagles punched their ticket to this weekend’s state tournament in Mountain Home. A year after the MVE eliminated West Side in the first round of the regional tournament, the Eagles had payback on their mind.
    “We knew coming in it was gonna be a battle but this is what we’ve been playing for all year to do well in this game with a trip to state on the line and it just so happened to be against the team that knocked us out last year,” said West Side skipper Shane Davis. MVE right-hander Tanner Smothers scattered seven hits, struck out two and hit one batter as the Warhawks made most of the plays in the field, yielding only one error. “Well pitched games on both sides,” said West Side skipper Shane Davis.
    “Bryce did a great job of getting out early in counts to minimize his pitch count (81) and our defense was solid whole game with only one error. Offensively we struggled but Ben [Hargrove and Dalton [Treece] carried us and we did a good job of putting the bat on the ball with only two strikeouts.”
    Hargrove singled to center field to lead off the second and moved to second when Dalton Treece followed with a single to center. A hit and run ground ball off the bat of Hayden Gilmore turned into an error that allowed Hargrove to score from second, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
    Smothers induced a pop-out and groundout to leave two West Side runners stranded in scoring position. With Hipp on cruise control the Eagles added an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth, starting when Dalton Treece roped a double down the right field line into the corner.
    Gilmore drilled a run-scoring double to deep left field as West Side extended its lead to 2-0 before Smothers retired two straight.
    West Side added one more run in the sixth, starting when Hargrove lined a single up the middle. Hargrove stole second with one out and moved to third on Gilmore’s sacrifice-fly to center. With two outs, Brandon Carr looped a run-scoring single to center as the Eagles took a 3-0 lead and held on the seventh behind Hipp, who completed the shutout by pitching around a one-out single by Trey Burrough.
    Page 2 of 3 - Hargrove led the Eagle offense, finishing 2 for 3 with two runs, while Dalton Treece (2 for 3 with one run) also collected two hits. Gilmore (1 for 3) added a team-high two RBI and Carr (1 for 3) had an RBI.
    West Side 7, Sacred Heart 2
    The second-seeded Eagles scored one run in the fifth, two more in the sixth and four in the seventh to break open a pitchers’ duel in Saturday’s semifinal round. Right-handed pitcher Hayden Gilmore held the top-seeded Rebels (12-9) to only three hits while striking out nine and the Eagles played stout defense, only committing two errors compared to five for Sacred Heart.
    Gilmore stifled Sacred Heart in the first five frames, holding the Rebels to only one base runner, who reached by error.“Took us awhile to get going offensively today,” said West Side Coach Shane Davis. “We had zero balls hit out of infield in first four innings but Hayden and our defense kept us right there and we finally started squaring some balls up and using the whole field in the fifth inning and it became contagious. Our pitching has been outstanding for us in this tournament and that's where it all starts. If we keep throwing strikes and making the play I like our chances moving forward,” added Davis.
    Sacred Heart pitcher Quentin Bowling went toe to toe with Gilmore until the fifth, when the Eagles scratched across a run despite only one hit.
    Gilmore and Brandon Carr walked to lead off the inning and they moved into scoring position on Kasey Johnson’s sacrifice-bunt. Catcher David Brown delivered an RBI single to left field that scored courtesy runner Andrew Houston before Bowling retired two straight, leaving two runners stranded in scoring position.
    Gilmore sat down the Rebels in order in the bottom half of the fifth and West Side got back to work, plating two runs on two hits in the top of the sixth. After Mason Treece reached on an error and moved to second on Ben Hargrove’s sacrifice-bunt, Dalton Treece laced a run-scoring single past shortstop and into left field. With two outs, Carr belted an RBI single to left center that scored Dalton Treece as the Eagles took a 3-0 lead before Bowling pitched out of further damage.
    Gilmore worked around a leadoff single by Philip Gottsponer and one-out single off the bat of Scott Wiedower in the bottom of the sixth, escaping with one out and two runners in scoring position by inducing a weak groundout and recording a strikeout. West Side put the game away in the seventh, scoring four runs on three hits.
    Bryce Hipp reached on a one-out error to get the Eagles started, then Blaine “Pepper” Hipp legged out an infield single. With two outs, Hargrove came through with a two-run single drilled to left field, scoring Pepper and Mason Treece, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
    Page 3 of 3 - Following a four-pitch walk issued to Gilmore, Carr stroked a two-run single to left field as the Eagles pushed their lead to 7-0 and hung on the in the bottom half, when Sacred Heart scored two runs on one hit before Gilmore slammed the door with two strikeouts.
    Brandon Carr and Mason Treece paced West Side’s offensive attack. Carr finished 2 for 2 with two walks and three RBI and Mason Treece was 2 for 4 with two runs. Hargrove (1 for 4 with 2 RBI) and Dalton Treece (1 for 4 with two runs) each contributed a hit for the Eagles, who were scheduled to play South Side Bee Branch on Monday in the regional title game.
    Look for game story and photos in Friday’s edition of The Sun-Times. South Side, which has won two of three over West Side, defeated Wonderview 4-0 and Midland 9-5 to reach the finals.
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