Friday, June 17, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe splits home games

Leader sports editor

Beebe and Jacksonville split their Junior American Legion doubleheader Wednesday at Gillam Fields, and both games were lopsided. The Post 91-O’Reilly Auto Parts team had a big sixth inning in game one en route to a 9-1 win, while the Gwatney Chevrolet Juniors cruised in game two to a 17-6 win in four innings.

In game one of the twinbill, Beebe scored a run in each of the first four innings while also holding Jacksonville scoreless to lead 4-0. Gwatney scored its lone run of the game in the top of the fifth on a two-out triple by Peyton Williams that drove in teammate Jayden Loving.

Williams’ RBI triple made it 4-1Beebe, but O’Reilly’s put game one away in the bottom of the sixth with five unanswered runs. Bryce Nance got things started with an infield single to second base and JT Nicholson reached on an error at second base the next at-bat.

Nance went to third on the error, and on the same play, Nicholson got caught in a rundown between first and second and Nance scored during the rundown. The throw home to get Nance got past home plate, allowing Nicholson to advance to third on the play.

Nicholson scored on a wild pitch the next at-bat to make it 6-1 Beebe. Two batters later, Randy Smith reached on another error at second base, and he scored on a standup double to left center by Dylan Lowe.

Lowe scored shortly after on a wild pitch. Catcher Alec Matlock then walked, went to second base on a passed ball and scored on an E1 – a bad throw to first after Jacob Rogers hit one back to the mound.

Matlock’s run set the final score of game one, and winning pitcher Blaine Burge got a strikeout to end the game with runners at second and third. Burge threw all seven innings of game one, finishing with nine strikeouts.

In game two, each team scored a pair of runs in the first inning to make it 2-2 going into the second. But Jacksonville began to separate itself on the scoreboard in the second inning.

The Chevy Boys scored four runs in the top of the second and held Beebe scoreless in the bottom half of the inning to take a 6-2 lead into the third, where Jacksonville all but put the game away.

Robert Johnson led off the third inning with a walk. He stole second base before scoring two batters later on a Jacob McCaa single to left field. McCaa’s RBI single was only Gwatney’s second base hit of game two.

Trent Toney walked the next at-bat and Williams loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. With two outs, Joe Cumming walked to drive in McCaa and put Jacksonville up 8-2.

Branden McGwire followed with the play of the day.

McGwire drove in runs nine through 12 with a monster grand slam that sailed over the left-field fence and gave Gwatney a 10-run cushion and a 12-2 lead. Before that half of the inning was over, the Chevy Boys scored two more on a two-RBI single to left field by Jonathan Smith, putting Jacksonville on top 14-2 after 2 1/2 innings.

Beebe had its most productive inning of game two in the bottom of the third. Randy Smith scored Beebe’s third run of the game on a bases-loaded walk by Matlock. Smith led off the bottom of the third with a triple. With the bases still loaded, Lowe hit a bases-clearing double to center field to make the score 14-6.

Jacksonville scored the game’s final three runs in the top of the fourth – the highlight of which was a solo home run over left field by Williams.

Jacksonville outhit Beebe 7-4 in game two, but Jacksonville had far more free bases. Jacksonville walked 12 times in game two and had three other batters reach base via hit-by-pitch. Conversely, Beebe walked five times and had two hit batters.

McGwire and Cumming led Jacksonville at the plate in game two with two hits each. Lowe was the only Beebe player with multiple hits in game two, going 2 for 2 with four RBIs. McGwire’s four RBIs led Jacksonville.

Caleb Anderson earned the win on the mound in game two. He threw the first two innings, giving up two hits and two walks while recording one strikeout. In game one, Williams led all batters, going 3 for 4 with two singles and a triple.