Friday, March 23, 2012

SPORTS >> Jacksonville pounds out win over 7A Springdale

Leader sports editor

JONESBORO – Jacksonville overcame a long delay to get a win in the opening round of the Xtra Innings Baseball Classic at Nettleton High School in Jonesboro on Thursday. The Red Devils’ regularly-scheduled 11 a.m. start time was put off until about 1:10 p.m. due to heavy rain the night before. Once things got going, the Red Devils came from behind to beat the Springdale Bulldogs 6-3.

Although there was not prior notification for the late start, Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows was glad for the opportunity for his team to overcome some adversity.

“I like stuff like that sometimes,” Burrow said. “The same thing happened to us in the state tournament last year and we handled it really well. We have a really young team, and there’s a lot they need to learn about things not going just right.”

Jacksonville won the game and scored six runs despite leaving 10 runners stranded in the game. The Red Devils left two runners on base in the first inning, a runner on third in the second, runners on second and third and the third inning and left the bases loaded in the fourth.

In the fifth inning, with the score tied at two apiece, Jacksonville scored four runs to take command of the game.

The Red Devils loaded the bases with no outs, bringing up five-hole hitter Courtland McDonald. McDonald hit a hard grounder, but he hit it too hard. The throw went home for the first out of the inning. Senior Ragan Jones came up next. He hit a grounder to shortstop that scored a run and left everyone safe on the base paths.

Cole Bredenberg then laid down a squeeze bunt that went back to the pitcher. The Bulldog pitcher tried to shovel it to the catcher from his glove, but the throw was late. The catcher then tried to fire to first to get Bredenberg, but the throw sailed high, scoring two more runs and giving Jacksonville a 6-2 lead.

The Bulldogs added a run in the top of the seventh inning with a double and a triple, but could get no closer.

Jesse Harbin got the win on the mound for the Red Devils. He threw all seven innings, giving up seven hits and one earned run. Harbin also went 3 for 4 at the plate, picking up a third of Jacksonville’s nine base hits. Leadoff hitter Kaleb Reeves Got two base hits while D’Vone McClure, Greg Jones and Bredenberg also pitched in one base hit each.

Jacksonville immediately turned around and played Wynne after beating Springdale. The Yellowjackets got that win 5-0 despite only four base hits.

Jacksonville also got four hits but couldn’t produce any runs.

Wynne’s first two runs came off solo homers off starting pitcher Derek St. Clair. Jacksonville then gave away three unearned runs in the fifth inning to set the final margin.

“St. Clair threw a good game,” Burrows said. “We just didn’t hit, and we made some mistakes. I’ll take it though because we’re getting better. It’s early and with a team this young, you’re just looking to get better this time of year. I We’re doing that. I see improvement so I’m pleased.”