Wednesday, July 02, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Silverback rally gives Gwatney tough loss

Leader sports editor

The Searcy Silverbacks spotted the Gwatney Chevrolet Junior American Legion team four runs in the top of the first inning on Monday, but the Chevy Boys couldn’t hold on for the win. In a game at Dupree Park in which Searcy played as the home team, Gwatney’s juniors gave up five runs on Searcy’s last at-bat to fall 8-7.

The Silverbacks scored the five runs that erased a 7-3 deficit on just three hits, that went along with two errors, one walk and one hit batter.

As bad as that inning was for Jacksonville, Searcy’s opening inning was worse. The home team on the scoreboard gave up four runs in the first inning on no hits at all.

Jacksonville’s A.J. Jackson started the game with a grounder to shortstop that was misplayed. Brandon Hickingbotham and Colton Goodman followed with walks to load the bases. After Tyler Montgomery struck out, Caleb McMunn was hit by a pitch to drive in one run.

Javon Wakefield then also struck out before Tyson Flowers hit a fly ball to left field that was missed. That allowed two more runs to score, and McMunn scored on a wild pitch to give Jacksonville a quick 4-0 lead.

Searcy got one back in the bottom of the first on two walks and a base hit, then pulled to within one run in the bottom of the second, again off two walks and one base hit.

Jacksonville got its first base hit to start the third inning when Goodman singled to right-center field. The Chevy Boys scored three runs in the frame, but it could have been much more if not for the first of two base running blunders that ultimately cost them the game.

The three runs came despite getting six of their first seven batters on base safely. After Goodman’s base hit, Montgomery sacrificed to third base to advance Coleman into scoring position. McMunn walked and that was followed by an RBI single to center field by Wakefield.

Flowers then drove in a run with a hit to right field that left runners on corner. Wesley Williams then hit a grounder to shortstop where Aaron Decker tried to get the out at second, but Flowers beat the throw, leaving everyone safe and the bases loaded. Caleb Smith bunted down the third baseline to score Wakefield, and was left safe when the ball wasn’t fielded cleanly.

With the bases still loaded and only one out, Jackson struck out, and Smith got picked off at first base on the same pitch to end the inning.

Searcy’s big inning came in the bottom of the third and gave the Silverbacks their first lead, but Jacksonville was back in business in the fourth with the time limit approaching. With a runner in scoring position and one out, a fly ball to left field turned into a 7-4 double play to end the threat.

The game was called on the hour and 50-minute time limit on Searcy’s second at-bat of the bottom of the fourth.