Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SPORTS >> Red Devils power to top with sweep

Jacob Abrahamson hit two home runs to lift Jacksonville on Tuesday night.


Leader sports editor

Jacob Abrahamson hit two home runs and the Jacksonville Red Devils took a firmer grip on first place in the 6A-East with a doubleheader sweep of Jonesboro at Dupree Park on Tuesday.

Abrahamson homered in each game as Jacksonville won 8-2 and 11-3, handing Jonesboro its first conference losses and improving to 10-0 in the conference.

“I thought we played better in game two definitely,” Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows said.

Despite the outcome of the first game, Burrows was worried his hitters hadn’t taken advantage of more opportunities while his staff had to work out of several jams and stand nine Hurricane baserunners. But after the second-game fireworks, Burrows was pleased to see the Red Devils standing atop the conference.

“I expected us to be in this position,” said Burrows, who nonetheless sounded a note of caution over Jacksonville’s upcoming conference opponents.

“We definitely have got the two best teams left even though Searcy has got two losses. They were in the state finals and didn’t hardly lose anybody from last year. They can play. And Mountain Home is solid.”

Abrahamson, the Red Devils’ shortstop, led off the third inning of the first game with a home run and he homered again to lead off the second game, atoning for a pair of errors he made in the first game.

“We still got to get him some work. When his back was hurt he didn’t even practice for awhile,” Burrows said. “Rehab. We just tried to get him ready for game day like you do in some football games.”

Abrahamson went 3 for 3 with a double, a home run, three RBI and two walks in the second game after he went 2 for 3 with three runs and an RBI in the first.

D’Vone McClure was 2 for 5 with a double and two RBI in the second game, Caleb Mitchell was 2 for 4 with a double and two runs and Noah Sanders was 3 for 4 with two RBI.

Starter Jesse Harbin got the first-game victory while Mike Lamb relieved, then Lamb won the second game with Nick Rodriguez finishing.

The Red Devils got a run in the first inning of the first game when Abrahamson led off with a single and scored on Patrick Castleberry’s sacrifice fly.

Jonesboro threatened in the third as Moe Malugen hit a leadoff double and then a series of passed balls and wild pitches, plus Bradyen Carson’s sacrifice, put Malugen and Blaine Carson on second and third with one out. But Malugen tried to score as the ball got away from Castleberry behind the plate and Castleberry threw to Harbin covering home for the putout.

Harbin then struck out Franklin Kelley to get out of the jam.

Abrahamson homered over the right-field fence to lead off the Jacksonville third and Castleberry reached on a one-out error and scored on Rodriguez’s single to center to make it 3-0.

The Red Devils dodged trouble again in the fourth.

Abrahamson’s throwing error put Jacob McDaniel on first and a walk to Colby Imboden and Will Winn’s infield hit loaded the bases with one out.

But Logan Perry made a diving catch of Malugen’s sinking drive in center and came up throwing to double Imboden off second and end the inning.

Jonesboro broke through in the fifth when Blaine Carson singled, Harbin hit Kelley, Jacob McDaniel walked and Clay Williams hit a two-RBI single.