Tuesday, May 30, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney Jr. goes 2-1 in tournament

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville-Gwatney Chevrolet junior American Legion team bounced back from a season-opening loss to win its final two games of the Sheridan tournament over the weekend. Both teams struggled to find the strike zone in the opener, a 13-5 loss to Sheridan.

The two teams combined for 18 runs, despite just one hit apiece. Four Jacksonville pitchers issued 14 walks, while Jacksonville walked eight times.

Clay Burrows got Gwatney’s only base hit in the fourth inning. Payton Williams was then hit before Sheridan walked four more batters.

On Saturday morning against Clarksville, Gwatney came from behind to win 6-5. The game-winning run scored in the sixth. The rally started when Alex Moss was hit by a pitch to lead things off. He moved to second on a sacrifice by Robert Johnson. Burrows then singled and Williams doubled to drive in Moss for the winning run.

Earlier in the game, Burrows scored in the first inning after back-to-back base hits by Burrows and Williams. Bryce Overman then reached on an E7 that scored Burrows.

Axton Ramick got a leadoff walk in the second inning for Jacksonville. With one out, Johnson singled and then Burrows singled to score Ramick. The next two batters struck out, but Johnson scored on a wild pitch before the inning ended.

In the fourth inning, Burrows drew a two-out walk and scored on a triple by Williams, who then scored on a passed ball to tie the game.

Burrows went 3 for 3 and scored three runs in the win. Williams went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Later on Saturday, Jacksonville cruised to a 21-8win over Cabot’s A team in five innings. Jacksonville scored twice in the top of the first inning, but fell behind by giving up three in the bottom half.

After a scoreless third, Gwatney took the lead for good with four runs in the third inning. Leading 7-6, Jacksonville put the game away with a 14-run fifth inning.

Ethan Gray started the huge rally by getting hit by a pitch. Johnson walked and Burrows singled for an RBI. Williams then doubled to drive in two more runs to make the score 10-6. Overman walked before Jaylon McGee singled, and Ramick made the first out with a grounder to shortstop.

Caleb Anderson walked for an RBI, as did Justin Dennis and Adonis Fuller, who was hitting for Gray after the team batted around. Coleton McGee and Burrows were then hit by pitches before Williams and Overman walked to make the score 14-6.

Jaylon McGee then singled and Ramick reached on an error at third base for a 16-6 lead. Randy Davis and Logan Wymer, batting for Anderson and Dennis, drew back to back walks for an 18-6 lead.

Ramick and Davis scored on wild pitches and passed balls while Fuller’s sacrifice scored the final run.

Anderson pitched two and two-thirds innings for the win. Burrows threw two and a third. Overman went 3 for 3, scored five runs and record two RBIs. Williams went 1 for 2 with four more runs batted in. Jaylon McGee went 3 for 4 while Ramick was 2 for 5 at the plate.

These same two teams will meet again at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at Dupree Park in the Gwatney Chevrolet Junior American Legion Invitational.

The tournament starts today when Vilonia faces Sheridan1 at 5:30 p.m. Clarksville takes on Sheridan2 at 7:30 p.m.

Game two on Thursday is between Stuttgart and Searcy. On Friday, Clarksville takes on Cabot while Sheridan1 faces Searcy.

Games will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday with Sheridan1 against Stuttgart. Sheridan2 plays Jacksonville at 12:30 p.m. Stuttgart plays Vilonia at 2 p.m. Jacksonville vs. Clarksville at 4 p.m. Sheridan2 plays Cabot at 6 p.m. and Vilonia plays Searcy at 8 p.m.

The top four teams in pool play will play Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.

The top two teams will then play for the tournament championship at approximately 5:30 p.m.