Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney routs Searcy

Leader sports editor

Thanks to persistent rain, the Gwatney Chevrolet Senior American Legion team didn’t get much out of its annual invitational tournament. But it did close with a win, beating Searcy 10-0 on Sunday in the only game the host team got to play.

“We did pretty good,” said Jacksonville coach Bob Hickingbotham. “Searcy is a little down this year, but we did what we were supposed to.”

The tournament, scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday, was onlyable to get games in on the first and last day.

Jacksonville’s Brandon Hickingbotham threw four innings of no-hit baseball, and was one walk and one error from a perfect game. Neither of Searcy’s base runners advanced beyond first base.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, and it was Hickingbotham that drove in the first two runs. Leadoff hitter Kameron Whitmore and three-hole lefty Caden Sample each drew walks.

Hickingbotham then ripped a double to right field to score Whitmore and Sample. They were all the runs Gwatney Chevrolet needed for the win, but far from all they got.

Foster Rash drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the second inning and Ean Long reached on an error with one out and the mistake allowed Rash to score. Whitmore walked for the second time and Long scored on a wild pitch for a 4-0 lead.

Jacksonville added six runs on just two base hits in the third inning, thanks to more erratic Searcy pitching.

Hickingbotham started the rally with a leadoff single, but he was thrown out trying to make second base. Tyson Flowers singled but Jordan Wickersham grounded out to third base. That’s when the errant pitching arose again.

Rash and Brandon Hawkins drew back-to-back walks to load the bases, and Long singled to score Flowers. With the bases still loaded, Whitmore was hit by a pitch while Toney and Sample drew walks, each free pass driving in another run and giving Jacksonville 8-0 lead.

Hickingbotham then got his third base hit of the game, and with it drove in the final two runs.

Hickingbotham went 3 for 3 with a double and four RBIs.