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story.lead_photo.caption Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs third baseman Dalton Cook holds on a Russellville runner during the fifth inning of Monday's game at James Butts Baseball Park. Russellville defeated the Panthers 5-1.

Former Siloam Springs standout Nick Brill enjoyed his trip home Monday afternoon, even if the conditions weren't ideal for baseball.

Brill, an assistant coach for Russellville, served as acting manager for the Cyclones on Monday in a 5-1 victory over Siloam Springs in a 5A/6A District 1 game at James Butts Baseball Park.

Brill -- a 2009 Siloam Springs graduate who went on to play at the University of the Ozarks -- was in charge of the Cyclones because head coach Will McCrotty was ejected in their previous game against Farmington last Friday.

"I enjoyed it. It's always nice when we win," Brill said. "The guys played well considering the conditions. It's nice to come home -- back up here anyways -- but it's even better to leave with a win. ... Friday things didn't go our way. We just take the cards we're dealt with and go from there. We tell our guys to keep plugging away so we just do the same thing."

The Cyclones (6-11, 3-2) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, taking advantage of some walks, hit batsmen and errors by Siloam Springs (2-12, 1-4).

Russellville made it 3-0 in the fourth, but Siloam Springs got a run back to pull within 3-1 in the bottom of the inning.

Chance Hilburn singled and came around to score thanks to three Russellville errors.

The Cyclones got the run back in the top of the fifth to go up 4-1 and added another single run in the seventh.

That was plenty of support for starting pitcher Kade Shaeffer, who pitched six innings, giving up six hits, two walks and three strikeouts.

"He did a good job," Brill said. "He had a low pitch count, so we were going right at guys. We got a lot of ground balls. With the conditions and with it being wet and thick, it was tough to make plays on it. But we did a good job on eliminating the extra bases on wild throws."

Craig Defrancisco and Cole Dawson each had two hits and a pair of RBIs for the Cyclones, who had 10 hits total.

Shaeffer also helped himself with a pair of hits, while Jack Snider added an RBI for Russellville.

"We have three senior position players that play, and they do a good job at the top of the lineup," Brill said. Our young guys are starting to come along at the bottom of the lineup and produce a little bit. We're getting better and better each week. I think we're going to be OK. As long as we're playing our best baseball at the end, I think we're going to have a chance to make a little run."

It was the seventh straight loss for the Panthers, who have struggled to get practice time since returning from their trip to play in the Best of the West Tournament in Memphis during spring break.

"We played Friday against Greenwood, and it had been nine days since we had been out on the field of play," said Siloam Springs head coach Alan Hardcastle. "Seeing live pitching hasn't happened a lot since our Memphis tournament because of rain and so we're a little sluggish at the bat.

"I don't know how many runners we stranded -- probably a dozen. It just seemed like every time we came up with runners on, we had the eight- or nine-hole. They made contact. We just couldn't get the ball out of the infield."

Reed Wilbanks led Siloam Springs with two hits, while Baron Meek, Hilburn, Jacob Rowe and Tanner Broyles all had base hits.

Rowe pitched the first two innings and was saddled with the loss. Broyles pitched two innings while Meek worked 2 2/3 before Wilbanks got the final out of the seventh inning.

"I thought our pitchers did well," Hardcastle said. "We hit a few and walked a couple, but defensively I think we're getting stronger and we're getting better. We're making better choices and better plays. Tonight it just comes down to timely at-bats."

The Panthers are scheduled to return to action Thursday at Harrison and then play at Farmington on Friday.

Sports on 04/04/2018

Print Headline: Brill-led Cyclones silence Panthers

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