Friday, July 01, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney Juniors burst out

Leader sports editor

Gwatney Chevrolet’s Junior American Legion team rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win a wild one at Searcy on Tuesday. The Jacksonville squad scored all 14 of its runs in the third inning and held on for a 14-10 victory.

The Chevy Boys ran Searcy’s starting pitcher off the mound five batters into the third inning with four base hits. Relievers struggled to find the strike zone.

The inning started at the top of the lineup, where Trent Toney, Peyton Williams and Caden Sample got consecutive base hits before Foster Rash struck out. Joe Cummings then singled to drive in two runs and Axton Ramick walked, leading to the pitching change.

A pitch hit Robert Johnson before Brandon McGuire, Jayden Loving, Toney, Williams, Sample and Rash made it six more base hits in a row. Cummings then walked before Ramick and Johnson were hit by pitches.

McGuire made the second out by going down swinging, but Loving walked to drive in the final run of the inning.

Searcy’s Brandon Prafer then took the mound and struck out the next two batters to stop the home team’s bleeding.

Searcy scored two in the bottom of the third on three walks and a double that made the score 14-7. Prafer got two more strikeouts and a pop up in the top of the fourth. Searcy scored three more runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter, but the game was called for time after four innings of play took more than two and a half hours.

Nine different Jacksonville players got a base hit, and no one had multiple hits. The Chevy Boys (13-7-1) also drew six walks and three were hit by pitches.

Williams started and threw two innings while Cain threw the final two.

Williams gave up two hits and five earned runs with one strikeout, three walks and a hit batter.

Cain allowed five earned runs on five hits, five walks, and one hit batter.

The Jacksonville Senior team (7-11) lost its sixth-straight game in the last two weeks, falling 5-0 after a going into the fifth inning knotted at zero. The last three of that losing streak have been without several starters, who have been on vacation and will return to the team next week.

Two base hits and two Jacksonville errors led to a 3-0 lead for Searcy in the fifth inning. Four-consecutive singles in the sixth inning set the final margin.

The six singles in those two innings were the only six hits allowed by Gwatney pitcher Brandon Hickingbotham. He finished with five strikeouts, one walk and allowed two earned runs.

Austin Passmore threw a complete-game, three-hitter for Searcy. He finished with nine strikeouts and three walks. He was also the only player in the game to finish with multiple base hits, going 2 for 3 with two RBIs and one run scored.

Jacksonville’s Junior team will play a doubleheader at Benton starting at 2 p.m. today. The Junior and Senior teams will host Searcy on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.