Friday, June 25, 2010

SPORTS>>Chevy Boys lights out in comeback

Leader sports editor

It’s unusual to have a game suspended by darkness on a lighted field, but that’s what happened in Jacksonville Gwatney Chevrolet’s senior American Legion game with Sylvan Hills at Dupree Park on Thursday.

Jacksonville was batting in a five-run third and had tied it 6-6 when first the right field lights, then the left, went out and couldn’t be turned back on.

After meetings among the umpires and coaches on the partially darkened field, it was decided to suspend the game and pick it up in progress when a suitable date can be found.

“We’re going to pick it up as soon as we can reschedule it,” Jacksonville coach Bob Hickingbotham said. “We didn’t even talk about a date.”

When the game resumes, Gwatney will have No. 9 hitter Thurman Daniel at the plate for the second time in the third with two out and Xavier Brown on second and Alex Tucker on first. Sylvan Hills led 6-1 before Jacksonville fought back in the inning, batting nine and getting five hits to score five runs and tie it.

D’Vone McClure hit an RBI double, A.J. Allen drew a bases-loaded walk, Brown hit a bad-hop, two-run single just before the two right-field light standards went dark, and Tucker hit an RBI single before the lights went out in left field on an attempt to restart the whole array.

Hickingbotham and an umpire strolled to the right-field fence to check on the situation, and then coaches from both teams huddled on the field before it was decided to stop for the night.

“We’ve got a short somewhere,” said Hickingbotham, who was hoping city employees could fix the situation before Friday night’s game with Russellville. “We’ve had that happen but it’s been a long time ago.”

Hickingbotham said the lights aren’t properly focused and need to be adjusted as well.

“It’s dark in center field. We’ve not had that problem before,” he said.

Gwatney starter Stephen Swagerty struggled in the first as he walked one, hit another, threw a wild pitch and got no help from a two-run fielding error by A.J. Allen at second. Blake Rasdon hit an RBI single in the inning while Korey Arnold and Rasdon came home on the error to make it 3-0.

The Bruins added another run in the second when Michael Maddox walked with one out, advanced on Arnold’s single then stole home when Arnold got himself caught in a rundown between first and second.

Sylvan Hills starter Austin Spears hit Jared Toney in the Jacksonville second and Brown hit a single to right that scored Toney from second and cut it to 4-1.

Trey Sims tripled and scored when Brown committed a fielding error on Justin Cook’s grounder to third, and Cook later scored on Maddox’s single to left off Daniel, the starting designated hitter who relieved Swagerty on the mound.

Brown, 3 for 3 with two runs and two RBI in the junior game, was on his way to another good outing in the senior game. Before it was suspended Brown was 2 for 2 with three RBI.

Hickingbotham used the senior game to test out some injured players as Jacob Abrahamson, started at shortstop and Patrick Castleberry started at catcher. Each got one hitless at-bat before Ken Cummings replaced Abrahamson and Nick Rodriguez batted for Castleberry.