Tuesday, July 08, 2008

SPORTS>>Little Rock rallies past Chevy boys

Leader sports editor

It was a weekend of frustration for Gwatney Chevrolet at its own tournament this past weekend as the Chevy boys let several late leads get away from them.

The most heartbreaking was a 7-5 9-inning setback to Little Rock Blue on Friday afternoon in a game the Chevy boys came within an out of winning. Even worse, Blue trailed 4-0 entering the sixth inning. That’s when it all fell apart for the Chevy boys.

Tyler Wisdom, who had cruised along, allowing just two hits through the first five innings, surrendered a single and a home run to Taylor Brown to lead off the sixth, narrowing the lead to 4-2.

Relief pitcher Matt McAnally got a pop out, but Dustin Ward followed with a home run, and one single and one double later, the game was knotted at 4.

The Chevy boys immediately reclaimed the lead on a Terrell Brown single, a Patrick Castleberry double and Jason Regnas’ RBI single to center. It appeared Castleberry had scored as well when he slid around the Blue catcher, but the umpire ruled him out and Gwatney had to settle for a 5-4 lead heading into the final inning.

McAnnally retired the first two in the seventh, but a walk and Tim Watson’s double tied it.

The Chevy boys had the winning run at second after Michael Harmon singled and moved to second on a sacrifice with two outs in the eighth, but they couldn’t punch him across.

Clayton Fenton came on in relief in the ninth and, after fighting back from a 3-0 count to strike out the leadoff man, gave up a single. Watson, who tied the game with a double in the seventh, put Blue in front with another double, then came around himself on Ward’s single.

Gwatney jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first on a hit batter, two walks and Regnas’ infield RBI single.

Though the Chevy boys added another run in the second on a bases-loaded walk to McAnally, they left the bases jammed and stranded eight over the first four innings — 11 overall.

Gwatney padded its lead on a single by Ricky Tomboli, Daniel Henard’s RBI double and Harmon’s RBI single in the fifth.

Wisdom struck out one and walked three while allowing four hits and two earned runs over five innings. McAnally surrendered four hits, two walks and three earned runs while fanning two over three innings. Fenton took the loss.

Harmon led Gwatney with three hits. Henard added two.

Gwatney opened the tournament with a 16-10 loss to Benton on Thursday. The Chevy boys beat Benton late on Friday for their only tourney win before being eliminated by Russellville, 6-2, on Saturday.

Gwatney had another late lead against Russellville after McAnally had delivered RBI hits in both the first and third innings to put the Chevy boys up 2-1. But Russellville tied it in the sixth, then scored four in the seventh.

Regnas struck out 10 over six innings for Gwatney.