Tuesday, June 06, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney beats Sheridan

Leader sports editor

The Gwatney Chevrolet Junior American Legion team ran its record to 5-1 so far this season with a 4-2 victory over Sheridan on Saturday morning in the Jacksonville Junior Invitational at Dupree Park.

It turned out to be the last day of the event that was supposed to conclude on Sunday. Heavy rain brought an end to the tournament during the 12 p.m. game on Saturday, but Jacksonville finished it 2-0 after beating Cabot’s A Team 6-5 on Thursday.

Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows wasn’t pleased with how his team performed on Thursday, but the win over Sheridan was much better.

“We played well against Sheridan,” said Burrows. “We had a couple mistakes, but they were just baseball plays. They were mental things where we knew better like we did that whole game against Cabot. They were good Saturday.”

Gwatney scored first in the bottom of the second inning. Bryce Overman hit a leadoff single and stole second base. Caleb Anderson then singled to put runners on the corners, and Axton Ramick hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice that scored Overman. After a 5-3 groundout by Ethan Gray, Justin Dennis was hit by a 0-1 pitch. Adonis Fuller then hit a grounder to third that was mishandled, resulting in Ramick coming around to make the score 2-0.

Sheridan got a two-out base hit in the top of the third that eventually came around to score, making it 2-1. After holding Jacksonville scoreless, the visiting Yellowjackets tied the game in the top of the fourth. Sheridan threatened to make a big inning of it, with the first four batters reaching base, but only one run scored.

A single was followed by a walk, but Anderson picked off the runner at first base. Another single drove in the tying run, and another walk put two runners on with one out. But Anderson got the next two batters to fly out to get out of the jam.

Jacksonville then scored twice in the bottom of the fifth as time expired. Clay Burrows drew a leadoff walk. Two batters later Overman was hit by a pitch. Ryan Ready then walked to load the bases with one out, and Ramick got his second RBI with another sacrifice. Gray then singled to drive in Overman and set the final margin.

Burrows, Overman, Anderson and Gray each had one base hit to account for all Gwatney’s base knocks.

Anderson started and pitched the first four innings for the no-decision. He gave up only three hits while striking out one and walking six. Gray pitched the last inning. He gave up one hit with one strikeout and no walks.

Jacksonville’s junior/senior doubleheader scheduled for Monday at Sylvan Hills was also rained out. The next game is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at Searcy.

It will be the senior team’s season opener. After that, both teams will be back home for a junior/senior doubleheader against Stuttgart at 6 p.m. Thursday. They close out the week with a home doubleheader against Paragould on Saturday. The junior game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. with the senior team to follow.