Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SPORTS >> Gwatney wins one, loses one to open Legion campaign

Leader sports editor

Gwatney Chevrolet’s junior American Legion team got mixed results during the rain-shortened Vince DeSalvo Memorial Day Classic at Burns Park last weekend.

Gwatney opened with a 12-3 breeze past Bee Branch on Friday before falling 10-7 to Texarkana on Saturday afternoon.

The tournament, which begins with pool play among four four-team brackets before finishing with bracket play, was washed out after Sunday’s rains.

Twice against Texarkana, Gwatney enjoyed two-run leads. But Texarkana erupted for seven runs in the third to surge to a 9-4 advantage. Gwatney’s final-inning rally, when it scored three runs, ended on a strikeout with the tying run at the plate.
Jacob Abrahamson and Devon McClure reached on errors to open the bottom of the first inning after Gwatney starter Michael Lamb had set down the side in order in the top half.

Chris McClendon’s ground out scored Abrahamson and Jesse Harbin delivered McClure with a sharp two-out single.

Three Texarkana hits tied it in the second, but Gwatney came back with two runs on no hits in the bottom of the inning. Orlando Roberts was hit with a pitch and Zach Taylor was safe on a fielder’s choice. Lamb sent a liner into left field that was dropped and Roberts and Taylor came around to score when the ball rolled to the fence as Gwatney took a 4-2 lead.

But two walks, three singles, a double and two Gwatney errors produced seven Texarkana runs in the third. McClure came on in relief in the inning and pitched three solid innings, allowing three hits and one earned run.

Gwatney wasted a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity in the third, but started the fifth and final inning strong. Patrick Castleberry singled, McClendon doubled and Harbin grounded an RBI single to right. McClendon scored on a passed ball and Harbin came home on a wild pitch to make it 10-7.

Taylor doubled with two outs and Alex Tucker was hit with a pitch. But a strikeout ended the contest.

Lamb took the loss, allowing six hits and seven earned runs in two-plus innings. Despite the two errors in the third, Gwatney played fairly solid defense. Abrahamson at short flawlessly handled all six of his chances. Taylor in center field made a perfect throw to third base to nail a runner trying to advance on a fly ball.

Gwatney finished with five hits — four in the fifth inning. Harbin had two RBI singles.


Kenny Cummings mercifully brought Gwatney’s tourney-opening game to an end with a two-run single in the fifth inning. Gwatney scored its 13 runs on just five hits, taking advantage of five hit batters, six walks and three Bee Branch errors.

Gwatney scored two in the first and five in the second. Orlando Roberts had an RBI double and Castleberry an RBI infield single in a three-run third.

Castleberry and Taylor combined for a five-inning no-hitter. Castleberry walked three and hit one, but struck out eight over 3 1/3 innings. Taylor went the final 1 2/3 and fanned three.