Friday, April 29, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Walk-offs for Devils

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville baseball team had heard the old Yogi maxim, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” before, but they learned exactly what that means at UCA on Thursday.

Down 4-2 with two outs and a 0-2 count, the Red Devils pulled out a 5-4 victory over 5A-South leader Hot Springs Lakeside.

The Lady Red Devil softball team also overcame a seventh-inning deficit to beat Haskell-Harmony Grove by the same score at home on Tuesday.

The JHS baseball and softball teams only got to play the one nonconference game this week after Mills University Studies canceled the scheduled 5A-Central doubleheader at the last minute.

The late cancellation ruined the teams’ planned senior night festivities, but it paved the way for a pair of exciting rallies.

The Red Devils came to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning at the bottom of their lineup. Caden Sample hit a leadoff single and Javan Wakefield was hit by a pitch.

Kameron Whitmore put down a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners into scoring position, but Cody Savage popped up to second base and no one advanced.

Nine-hole hitter Caleb Smith quickly fell into a 0-2 hole, but then ripped a base hit to left field to easily score Sample.

The Lakeside left fielder came home with the throw to try to get Wakefield, but he overthrew the catcher. The loose ball allowed Smith to get all the way to third base.

The second pitch of Tyson Flowers’ at-bat was wild, and Smith scored the game-winning run.

The victory pulls Jacksonville’s overall record to .500 for the first time this season at 12-12. They are 7-3 in league play and will finish the conference season Tuesday against McClellan in Little Rock.

The Lady Red Devils were trailing 4-3 when they came to bat in the bottom of the seventh on Tuesday. Jacksonville had only two base hits and none since the third inning, but won the game with three-straight, one-out hits in the seventh. It started with a single by Bailey Holt. She scored on a double by Kym House. Mackenzie Rodgers then got the game-winning RBI with a double to left field.

The Lady Red Devils (19-4, 10-0) also play at McClellan on Tuesday, and will face Batesville High on the road on Thursday.