Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney wins three straight

Leader sports editor

The Gwatney Chevrolet junior American Legion team got the season off to a good start, winning its first three games in the North Little Rock Memorial Day tournament to win its pool and advance to Monday’s semifinals. Once there, the Jacksonville squad lost 5-4 to host North Little Rock and dropped to 3-1 on the young season.

“It was a pretty good tournament for us,” Jacksonville coach Bob Hickingbotham said. “We hadn’t had much time to prepare and get everything squared away, but we played about as well as can be expected. I’m pleased with it. It was a pretty good start anyway.”

The 17-under Chevy Boys opened the season with a 4-2 victory over the Little Rock Cobras Friday night on field two at Burns Park. Dawson Burge started on the mound and got the win. He gave up just three base hits while walking four and striking out six.

Leadoff hitter D.J. Scott put Jacksonville in the lead early. He singled to right field to start the game. Two batters later Blake Perry walked with one out. Catcher Greg Jones then grounded to shortstop, where the ball was mishandled, allowing Scott to score. Laderrious Perry then singled, but Ryan Mallison hit into a double play to end the rally.

Jacksonville took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the third after the Cobras tied the game.

All nine batters took a turn at the plate in the third for Gwatney, starting with shortstop Derek St. Clair. He led off with a single and stole second base. Blake Perry flew out to left field before Jones walked.

Laderrious Perry then ripped an RBI double to left field, putting runners at second and third for Mallison. The left-handed hitting second baseman came through with a two-RBI single down the right-field line to make it 4-1.

The Chevy Boys came back with a 7-0 win over Benton Sports Shop on Saturday morning. Blake Perry and Cord Simpson combined for a one-hitter, with Simpson giving up a base hit with no outs in the seventh inning to break up the no-no.

Perry threw four innings of perfect baseball, giving up no hits with no walks and no errors.
Courtland McDonald got a rally started in the second by taking a pitch to the hip with no outs. He moved to second on a groundout by Mallison. Deaundrey Harris walked and Trevor Ransom ripped a line drive to left field to score McDonald.

With two outs, Scott walked to load the bases and St. Clair singled to drive in a run. Another run scored when the ball was mishandled in the outfield.

Harris reached on an error at shortstop to start the fourth inning for Jacksonville. Ransom was hit by a pitch and Josh Cook walked to load the bases with no outs.

Scott hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to score one run. Blake Perry then singled to score another run and leave two in scoring position for Jones, who made the most of the opportunity with a two-RBI double to the wall in left-centerfield.

On Sunday James Tucker went the distance for a one-hitter in a 1-0 win over Benton-Everett GMC.

Tucker faced just 29 batters, giving up one bunt single and one walk while striking out eight batters.

The game’s lone run came in the bottom of the third inning. Harris was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He moved to third on a single by Mallison and scored on a wild pitch.