Bears Undefeated in SCA

By: Jessie Eubanks

            After having to fight the weather which cancelled their first two games, and a 0-12 loss to West Plains on the 27th, the Bears had a rocky start. They traveled back to West Plains for a two-day tournament hoping to change their luck, playing against Neelyville, Winona, and Naylor.

            The first game the Bears played in the tournament was Friday, the 30th, against Neelyville. It was a disappointing game, and Ava lost 1-11. Senior Jeff Smalley scored Ava’s only run in the 4th inning. The Bears played again on Saturday, improving significantly. They shutWinona down in the fourth inning with a “mercy rule”. This means they had a 10 point lead after the third inning. The Bears were more confident in their last game of the tournament against Naylor after beatingWinona, 15-4. Scoring run after run, the Bears came home with another win, 10-1 and made it back in time to catch the bus to prom.

            Monday night the Bears were well prepared to open up their SCA Conference games againstSalem. They started the game well with a four-point lead over the Tigers. Ben Loge threw a shut-out, holding the Tigers to only one hit throughout the game. The Bears came home with the win, 7-0, and were looking to extend their three game winning streak.

      Ava hosted the Central Bulldogs Tuesday, April 3rd. It was another big win for the Bears, shutting down the Bulldogs with another mercy rule in five innings. Second baseman, Cooper Emrich, was on the ball and ready to play. He made two diving plays, helping the Bears keep their lead over Central. The Bears won their first home game 11-1.

      Although the season had a rough start, the Bears have worked hard and shown improvement. Bringing home two more conference wins over Spring Break showed how much hard work and determination the Bears have put forth. They maintained a six game winning streak, until they fell to Hollister, 2-1. Their overall record is now 6-3.    

     After a tough loss to Hollister the Bears look to bounce back and extend their undefeated record in the SCA. Mountain Grove andSeymourcame to town Thursday April 12. Due to rain outs Ava had a double header Thursday night. Ava got off to a quick start and put a run on the board in the first inning off of back to back hits by Gastineau and Leonard. The Bears also tacked on three runs in the fifth inning to make it a 4-0 game. Grove tried to make a run in the sixth inning, scoring one run but Ava added three more runs in the sixth to put the game away. Ava went on to hold Grove in the top of the seventh to win 7-1. Ava after beating Grove turned around and playedSeymour.Seymourgot on top early scoring two runs in the first. Ava had a very slow start only having three hits before the sixth inning. The Bears turned it around though scoring six runs in the sixth inning to take the lead 6-4. Ava went on winning 6-4 improving their record to 8-3.

     The Bears came back on Monday to play the much improved Willow Springs Bears. Ava had a dominant pitching performance by Kody Kutz who held the Willow Springs Bears to zero. Ava pushed one run across the board in the second inning and that ended up being enough to win the game. Ava’s record improved to 9-1 and they are now 5-0 in conference play. The Bears will play Thayer this Thursday, April 19th, for senior night.