Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney goes 2-2 at Wood Bat Classic

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville went 2-2 at the Sheridan Wood Bat Classic that ran Wednesday through Sunday last week. The Gwatney Chevrolet squad didn’t win its pool, losing 3-0 to Russellville late Saturday, but got to play in the bracket semifinals because Russellville opted not to play the rest of the tournament.

That game did not go well either, as Cabot beat Jacksonville for the third time this season, but the first two games gave Gwatney Chevrolet its first win streak of the summer. After beating Hot Springs Lakeside on Wednesday, Jacksonville knocked off Benton 9-2 Saturday morning in the first of two games that day.

In Saturday morning’s game, Gwatney got on the board first in the opening frame when Courtland McDonald hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Mallison and scored on a two-out base hit by Blake Perry.

Jacksonville blew the game open with five-run second inning. James Tucker started the rally with a leadoff base hit and Laderrious Perry walked. After an out, D.J. Scott was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and McDonald ripped a two-RBI double to center field for a 3-0 Jacksonville lead. Mallison was hit to load the bases again and Scott scored when Greg Jones drew a walk.

McDonald scored his second of three runs in the game on a wild pitch, and Mallison came in on Blake Perry’s second RBI, a sacrifice grounder to second base.

Benton got its two runs in the third inning, but Jacksonville got them back in its half of the frame. Tucker and Laderrious Perry both hit hard line drives, but both resulted in fly outs.

Deaundray Harris was hit by a pitch and Scott walked. McDonald grounded back to the pitcher, but the play was flubbed, leaving everyone safe. Mallison then hit a routine grounder to second base that was also misplayed, resulting in two runs scoring. Jones was hit by a pitch and McDonald scored again on a passed ball to set the final margin.

Brandon Hawkins got the win on the mound for Jacksonville. He gave up three hits and one earned run while striking out three and walking three in five innings of work.

After being held scoreless later that evening by Russellville, and committing four errors and giving up five unearned runs in an 8-2 loss to Cabot on Sunday, Jacksonville coach Bob Hickingbotham didn’t have much to say about the tournament.

“You saw it,” Hickingbotham said. “I don’t have anything to say about it.”

Jacksonville’s scheduled game with Benton on Monday was canceled. The Chevy Boys, 4-8, begins play in the Gwatney Chevrolet Senior Invitational Thursday. The six-team tournament includes Jacksonville, Cabot and Conway in one pool, and Searcy, Benton and Russellville in another.