Friday, March 18, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Devils trample on War Eagles

Leader sportswriter

The Jacksonville baseball team opened 5A-Central Conference play Tuesday with a doubleheader at Dupree Park. Both games against J.A. Fair were huge wins for the Red Devils, as they beat the visiting War Eagles 20-1 in the first game before winning the nightcap 16-1.

Both games ended after three innings because of the sportsmanship rule. Fair scored its only run of each game in the first inning. In game one, the Red Devils scored four runs in the first inning before adding 16 in the bottom of the second to set the final score.

Wesley Williams threw all three innings of that game, finishing with six strikeouts. The Red Devils only had five base hits in the first game, with senior Brandon Hickingbotham leading the offense with two hits. Jacksonville walked 12 times and reached base after being hit by a pitch on five occasions.

Left-hander Cody Savage threw all of game two, finishing with six strikeouts. The Devils led 2-1 after the first inning before adding three more runs in the second to push their lead to 5-1.

Gabe Helsley and Quentin Stallard scored runs three and four for Jacksonville on passed balls. Helsley walked to lead off the bottom of the second before Stallard roped a single to left field. Jonathan Smith was then hit by a pitch and he later scored on a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Caden Sample.

After holding Fair scoreless again in the top of the third, Jacksonville scored the rest of its 11 runs in the bottom half of the inning – all with two outs. Williams scored the first run of the two-out rally, and runs seven and eight were driven in on a two-RBI single by Kameron Whitmore.

Javan Wakefield came in to run for Whitmore, and he later scored on a bases-loaded walk by Savage. That put Jacksonville up 9-1, and Tyson Flowers scored the next run on a passed ball.

Sample scored Jacksonville’s 11th run from third base, because of an errant throw from the Fair catcher that got by the pitcher after a pitch. Williams drove in the next run with a single to shallow center field that scored Caleb McMunn.

The next two runs were walked in before Whitmore was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, which scored Helsley and gave the Red Devils a 15-1 lead. Stallard, who walked earlier in the inning, then scored on a passed ball to end the game.

Fair used five different pitchers in the third inning alone, but the result was the same. Jacksonville had four hits in the second game, one each by Stallard, Williams, Joseph Cummings and Whitmore. The Red Devils walked 10 times and had seven hit batters.

With the pair of wins Tuesday, Jacksonville will head into spring break 2-0 in conference play. The Red Devils will take part in the Gulf Coast Classic in Gulf Shores, Ala., next week and their next conference doubleheader will be March 29 at Beebe.