Friday, May 04, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville sweeps two against WM

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville baseball team got an impressive doubleheader sweep over West Memphis Tuesday at Dupree Park. David Williams got a game-winning home run in game one and freshman pitcher James Tucker dominated the Blue Devil lineup in game two.

The wins didn’t help Jacksonville’s seeding in the state tournament. Despite finishing the conference schedule with four-straight wins and an 8-6 record, the Red Devils have to settle for the No. 6 seed from the East Conference in the state tournament that begins next Thursday in Mountain Home.

Jacksonville beat the Blue Devils 4-3 and 8-2 to pull even at 14-14 overall this season. The Red Devils were behind early in both games. They were behind late in game one as well until Williams changed all that with one swing in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Trailing 3-1, Greg Jones started things off with a base hit. After one out was recorded, Cole Bredenburg singled to put runners on the corners. Williams then out a charge into a 2-1 pitch and sent it over the wall in left field.

“He ran into one,” Burrows said. “That was easily his biggest hit of the year.”

Senior pitcher Jesse Harbin took the one-run lead into the top of the seventh and put the Blue Devils down in order to seal the victory.

Harbin gave up just four hits while striking out seven and walking no one. He gave up only two earned runs. Kaleb Reeves and Bredenburg each got two hits to lead Jacksonville. The Red Devils finished with seven base hits total.

Jacksonville’s first run of the game came in the third inning. D’Vone McClure singled to lead off the inning. Reeves, Harbin and Jones drew consecutive walks, with Jones’ walk scoring McClure and tying the game at one.

West Memphis added two runs in the top of the fourth and held that 3-1 lead until Williams’ bomb in the sixth.

The Red Devils got 11 hits in the nightcap with McClure and Bredenburg going 3 for 4 to lead the way.

Again West Memphis grab-bed an early lead, getting one run in each of the first two innings. And again Jacksonville finally got things going in the third.

Derek St. Clair drew a walk to start it off and Tanner Burks hit into a fielder’s choice. McClure then doubled to drive in one run. He later scored on a sacrifice fly by Harbin that tied the game.

The Red Devils took the lead for good in the sixth inning. Greg Jones singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Courtland McDonald. Bredenberg singled to drive him home, then scored himself on a base hit by Williams. Ragan Jones walked and McClure singled for another RBI base hit that made it 5-2.

Jacksonville tacked on three more in the top of the seventh inning. Harbin singled, got to second on a passed ball and moved to third on a fly out by Greg Jones. He then scored on a sacrifice by McDonald. With two outs, Bredenberg got his third hit of the game.

Williams walked and the duo moved up on stolen bases. Ragan Jones then singled to drive in the two runners and set the final margin.

“We hit the ball a little better,” Burrows said. “We’re getting better, there’s no question. Last time we played them, they shut us down without throwing any of their best pitchers. We’re definitely getting better.”

Greg Jones and Williams each got two hits in game two.

Tucker was masterful on the mound. He gave up just four hits while striking out nine, walking one and hitting one batter.

Jacksonville closes the regular season today with a non-conference game against Beebe at Dupree Park.