Lee, Bears shut down Longhorns

Published 9:51 pm Friday, April 8, 2016

By Ronnie Hughes

Leader Correspondent

LITTLE CYPRESS — The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears played host to the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns Friday night at Don Gibbens Field.

The Bears would also play the role of victor as they downed the Longhorns, 2-0, thanks to stellar pitching by Mitchell Lee, who had nine strikeouts in the contest.

More importantly, the win keeps the Bears in the thick of the playoff chase as they improved to 3-4 in District 24-4A play while the Longhorns slipped to 0-7.

Lee started the night striking out five through the first three innings of play with three strikeouts coming in the top of the third inning. The Horns’ struggled early and often to produce at the plate as they’d have one hit through five innings of play.

The Bears struck the first run across home plate in the bottom of the third inning. Ryan Martin led off the side with a single past shortstop with Drake Trawhon walking just two batters later. Vinny Hale came to the plate with one out and runners in scoring position. Hale sliced a shot over the second baseman’s head for an RBI single to score Martin to give the Bears the 1-0 lead after three complete innings. Bears would leave three runners stranded after loading the bases and a Payton Choate fly-out to left field. Martin finished the night 2-for-4 and one run scored.

The Longhorns again faltered at the plate in the top of the fourth and fifth innings going three-up-three down on just 10 pitches by Lee. Bryce Peasley notched a hit for the Bears in the bottom of the fourth inning, but would be left hanging at second base to end the side.

LC-M pulled in another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mitchell Lee reached on an error by the short-stop with two outs and Grant White brought Lee home on a single to shallow center field to give the Bears the 2-0 edge.

The Horns’ nabbed their first hit in four innings with Burgason dropping a ball into shallow left field to reach first base. Guidry moved Burgason to second base grounding into a fielders-choice, but Burgason got greedy and attempted to steal third base and was thrown down by the Bears catcher for the third out of the inning.

Franklin Truman took a hard pitch to the helmet to open the bottom of the sixth. Peasley sent him to second base with a sacrifice-bunt. Hale struck out looking the next at bat to bring up Tyler McCorvey with two outs and Truman in scoring position. McCorvey would be thrown out on a slow-roller to third base. The Bears clung tight to a 2-0 lead heading into the seventh and final inning.

Hamshire-Fannett gave one last effort in the top of the seventh with hopes of tying the game or taking the lead. The story remained the same for the Horns’ though at the plate. Bergeron popped out to third for the first out bringing Dubois to the plate just two outs away from another district loss. Dubois handed Lee his eight strikeout of the game making a Horns’ rally seem far-fetched. Lee walked the third batter of the inning and his first walk since the fourth. McConkle ended the Horns’ night with a grounder back to the pitcher to seal the win for the Bears.

The Bears will look for their third straight 24-4A win Tuesday when they visit Bridge City.

In other 24-4A action Friday, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs improved to 6-1 with a nice 7-4 road win at Hardin-Jefferson (3-4).

Silsbee improved to 5-2 in district play by downing Orangefield (2-5) 5-2.