Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SPORTS >> Jacksonville shuts down Greenbrier

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville baseball team got a nonconference victory Saturday at Greenbrier. The Red Devils got a good effort on the mound from freshman Derek St. Clair, and got a big fourth inning to earn the victory.

The hosting Panthers took an early lead with a single run in the first inning as St. Clair struggled with control early. The Panthers got two base hits and the freshman hurler walked two more batters. He was able to keep the damage to a minimum and get out of the inning with just one earned run allowed.

“St. Clair did a very good job for us,” Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows said. “He got us out of a couple of jams in the first and third innings. He kept his composure and did a really good job. He struck out their best hitter with one out in the first. He just froze him with a really good pitch. That was big for us.”

Jacksonville’s first nine batters went down in order through three innings. Burrows resorted to small ball to try and get some offense going.

Leadoff hitter D’Vone McClure started a rally with a double to start the fourth. That’s when Burrows began utilizing the bunt.

The first four batters of the inning scored for Jacksonville. After McClure’s double, Kaleb Reeves reached on an error at third base. Senior Jesse Harbin then doubled to score McClure and Reeves. Greg Jones singled on a bunt to drive in Harbin.

Walks by Ragan Jones and David Williams, followed by St. Clair getting hit by a pitch, allowed Greg Jones to walk in for the fourth run of the frame.

Greenbrier added a run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 4-2, but the Red Devils added a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to set the final margin.

McClure started it again for Jacksonville in the fifth with a single to centerfield. He scored two batters later on a single by Harbin.

Williams walked with one out in the sixth. St. Clair put down a bunt to drive him home.

McClure and Harbin got two base hits each. The other three Jacksonville base hits were on bunts.

St. Clair went the distance for Jacksonville, giving up seven hits and two earned runs while striking out seven.

The Red Devils have a big conference doubleheader against Parkview at 5 p.m. today at Dupree Park.