Friday, June 10, 2011

SPORTS>>Home run caps long comeback

Special to The Leader

Gwatney Chevrolet finished off Sylvan Hills 13-12 cleanly and suddenly last night after some drawn-out sloppiness in Legion AAA action Thursday night at Hickingbotham Field.

Trailing 12-10, the Chevy Boys’ Colt Harmon lined a full-count fastball over the right-field fence for a three-run homer with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kenny Cummings and Patrick Castleberry began the inning with singles through the infield to set up the game-winning blast.

Harmon also picked up the win on the mound, with four innings of scoreless relief. Gwatney’s senior team improved to 3-0 with the win.

A win didn’t seem very possible earlier in the contest when Sylvan Hills took advantage of three hit batters, three walks, four errors and several mental mistakes to score eight runs in the top of the third to take a 12-1 lead. The Bruins also had singles in the inning from Forrest Harrison, Korey Arnold and Corey Jones.

“We just looked awful in that inning,” said Gwatney coach Bob Hickingbotham. “We were dropping easy fly balls in the infield, hitting batters left and right; it was ugly.”

Ryan Brisco and Greg Atcheson were both hit and scored in the second inning, while Connor Eller reached on an error and scored in the first for Sylvan Hills.

Fortunately for Gwatney, Sylvan Hills turned out to be in a giving mood as well in the bottom half of the third.

The Chevy Boys rallied back to score nine runs in the third to cut the deficit to two at 12-10. Gwatney was helped by three walks, a hit batter, three errors, four wild pitches and three passed balls in the marathon inning.

Xavier Brown and Cummings tripled in the inning, while Jesse Harbin doubled and Castleberry had two singles as the offense batted around.

“We made a few fundamental mistakes that will get worked out, but we just didn’t make plays that inning,” said Sylvan Hills assistant coach Bruce Mason. “Jacksonville did what a good team does and they took advantage of that.”

After combining for 17 runs in the third inning, the circus turned back into a baseball game as the two rivals combined for just four hits until the final frame with Harmon’s heroics.

Harmon finished two for three and scored three runs. Castleberry was three for five with three runs, while Cummings was two for five with a triple and a pair of runs. Alex Tucker and Nick Rodriguez also singled in the win.

Sylvan Hills was led by Korey Arnold, who went two for five with a pair of runs. Harrison, Aaron Sarna, Corey Jones, Atcheson and Dalton Freeling each had a single for the Bruins. Nine Bruins were hit by a pitch.