Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney Seniors take down Paragould

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville’s Gwatney Chevrolet Senior American Legion team came from three runs down to post a 4-3 victory over Paragould last Friday at Dupree Park. The Chevy Boys were hitless for six of seven innings, and got just two hits the entire game. But a few walks and a critical Paragould error was enough to lift the home team to its third win of the year.

Paragould jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Three base hits and a walk led to the pair of runs. That lead stretched to 3-0 in the top of the third on one hit and one error.

Gwatney tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, starting with a leadoff walk by Kameron Whitmore. Trent Toney then hit a grounder to second base that was mishandled, leaving everyone safe. Caleb McMunn singled to drive in one run and put runners on the corners.

Brandon Hickingbotham hit a deep fly ball to right field to drive in Toney.

Caden Sample grounded out to first, and Jordan Wickersham hit an RBI single to right field that scored McMunn and knotted the score at 3-3.

The winning run came in the fifth inning. The rally started with a one-out walk by Whitmore. He moved to second on a wild pitch. Toney sacrificed him to third base and he scored the winning run on a passed ball.

“Well we won the game but we didn’t hit it very well,” said Gwatney manager Bob Hickingbotham. “We’re going to have to hit better than we did.”

Brandon Hawkins started on the mound and threw four innings. He gave up three earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Mike Havard threw the final three innings. He held Paragould scoreless, giving up two hits with two strikeouts and no walks. He retired the final eight batters in order.

Earlier in the week, the Gwatney Chevrolet Junior team dropped two games in a tournament in Sheridan. The younger Chevy Boys blew a 5-3 lead in the sixth inning to lose 7-5 to Smackover on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Benton hammered Jacksonville 11-2.

Smackover scored four runs in the sixth inning on no base hits. Jacksonville recorded one out before a hit batter and four-straight walks scored two runs. A passed ball and a sacrifice fly scored the final two.

Smackover’s first three runs came without a hit as well, as the Buckaroos’ summer team got just one hit the entire game. Three walks, a wild pitch and a sacrifice grounder led to the first two runs of the game for Smackover. The third run came in the second inning on a leadoff walk, stolen base, sacrifice and wild pitch. Smackover got its lone base hit in the third inning but did not score.

“We didn’t do anything but give that one away,” Hickingbotham said.

Jacksonville finished with seven base hits. Whitmore and Toney got two hits apiece to lead Gwatney offensively.

Jacksonville got four hits in the loss to Benton.