Friday, April 14, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Titans skirt past Patriots by a thread

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville ended a seven-game losing streak on Tuesday at Dupree Park, but not without a scare from a vastly improved Parkview Patriots team. Jacksonville had to overcome a late 4-0 deficit to win game one of a 5A-6A-Central doubleheader 8-7. The Titans then had to hold off a bases-loaded, no outs situation in the bottom of the seventh inning to win game two 3-1.

“They’re better,” said Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows. “Their pitcher (in game one) had us off balance the whole night. What really did it for us tonight was our pinchrunners and pinch hitters. I told them they were it. They got us going in the first game, coming in, stealing bases. Peyton (Williams) had a huge pinch hit, stole two bases and scored. (DeBoious) Cobbs, Robert Johnson and Payton were a huge reason we won the games tonight. What was it, a one-run game and a two-run game? They were big. They were ready when they were called on, and they were huge for us.

“And having Kam (catcher Kameron Whitmore) back there. I don’t know how many passed balls he saved tonight, but he’s a big reason for our success. We missed him when he wasn’t back there, and he was unbelievable again tonight. Big kudos to him.”

Parkview (10-10, 5-4) scored three runs in the top of the second inning of game one to take an early lead while Dylan Moulden kept the Titan bats in check on the mound. The Patriots added another run in the fifth for a 4-0 lead.

After no hits and just one base runner through four innings, Jacksonville finally started touching Moulden in the fifth.

Jayden Loving and Joe Cummings got back-to-back singles to start the inning. Quentin Stallard drew a walk and that was it for Geary’s night on the mound. Greg Helsley then hit a two-RBI double to get the Titans on the scoreboard.

Trent Toney also got an RBI base hit, and the Titans added three more runs on sacrifices and wild pitches to take a 6-4 lead.

Jacksonville (9-11, 4-6) added another run in the sixth on another RBI double by Helsley, but Parkview tied it with three in the top of the seventh.

In the bottom of the seventh, Caden Sample and Kyle Williams walked. With one out and Sample on third, Cummings hit a line drive to right field to score Sample for the win.

Jordan Wickersham turned in a good performance on the mound for the Titans, but settled for the no-decision. He gave up four hits and two earned runs in six innings of work. He walked three and struck out eight, including the side in the fourth inning.

Kyle Williams pitched the seventh inning to get the win.

Helsley’s 2 for 3 game at the plate, both doubles for three RBIs, led Jacksonville offensively.

Kyle Williams started on the mound in game two and got the win. Loving stepped in with one out in the sixth inning to earn the save.

Jacksonville again struggled at the plate, getting no hits off Geary Allmon until Toney led off the fourth inning with a single. He went all the way around the bases and scored on a series of passed balls and wild pitches.

Caleb Smith drew a leadoff walk in the sixth. He stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice by Toney. He scored on another passed ball.

In the top of the seventh, Payton Williams got a base hit to left field and stole second base. He moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI groundout to second by Cummings.

Parkview got a walk, a base hit and another walk to start the bottom of the seventh. Loving then walked leadoff hitter Zach Smith to drive in Parkview’s first and only run.

With the bases loaded and still no outs, Loving got Moulden to bounce one back to the mound.

Loving fielded it cleanly and threw home for the force, and Whitmore quickly relayed to first to get Moulden for the 1-2-3 double play.

Allmon then also grounded weakly back to Loving for the third and final out of the game.