SPORTS>> Three consecutive: Sylvan Hills AAA team beats Jacksonville for the third time
Leader sports editor
IN SHORT: The Gwatney Chevrolet team came up just short after mounting a huge comeback Wednesday night against the Sylvan Hills Bruins.
Sylvan Hills’ Class AAA team beat Jacksonville for the third time this season Wednesday night in Sherwood, but the Gwatney Chevrolet team made things a lot tougher than in the first two meetings. After the Bruins posted 16-5 and 7-0 victories over Jacksonville in the first two games, they needed a run in the bottom of the final inning to take an 8-7 victory in Wednesday’s game that was postponed from Tuesday.
“We got way behind right off the bat, but we didn’t quit and we almost won the thing,” Jacksonville coach Bob Hicking-botham said. “I was glad to see that they didn’t just quit. We’ve had some problems with that from our younger kids, but these guys know it’s not over just because you get behind.”
With the score tied at 7-7 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Sylvan Hills took back the lead and got the win with its first two batters. Ross Bogard led off with a double, and scored on a game-winning single by Ryan Wood.
Jacksonville scored first in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Josh Mansfield singled and scored two batters later on an RBI hit by Trey Smith.
Smith continued to hit well throughout the game, but struggled on the mound and didn’t make it out of the first inning.
Sylvan Hills scored seven runs in the bottom of the first to take a commanding 7-1 lead.
The rally started with one out when Austin Gwatney singled to left field. Grant Garlington then walked and Smith got the second out by forcing Chase Elder to fly out to left field.
That’s when things began to unravel for Smith and the rest of the Chevy boys. Tony Pavon reached on an error at third base that also scored Gwatney to tie the game. Jerry Lawson and Jarrett Boles hit back-to-back singles. Ross Bogard and Wood drew back-to-back walks, with Wood picking up an RBI for driving in Lawson. Roark came back up in the leadoff position to drive in two runs with a single to right field. Gwatney singled, this time to centerfield, to drive in the sixth run of the inning, and another error off of the bat of Garlington allowed the seventh run to score.
Casey Winstead took the mound and got Elder to ground out to first base to end the inning.
From there, Jacksonville began chipping away at its six-run deficit, finally tying the game in the fifth inning.
The Chevy boys got one back in the third inning. Neil Hatcher singled to lead off the inning. Smith then hit into a fielder’s choice, but the throw from shortstop to second was off target, allowing Hatcher to take third base. Kyle West then singled to make it a 7-2 ballgame.
In the fourth inning, Mansfield walked and scored on another error at shortstop after a Hatcher ground ball.
Jacksonville tied it with four runs in the fifth. Blake Mattison struck out, but reached on a passed ball. Brandon Clements then hit a home run over the wall in left field to cut the margin to two runs. Will Peeples then reached on an error at first base and Tyler Uptergrove walked. Shane Graham then doubled to score Peeples. Mansfield followed that with a double that scored Uptergrove to tie the game.
The game’s outcome leaves Sylvan Hills with a record of 11-4 while Jacksonville dropped to 2-6. Sylvan Hills is competing in a tournament in Mountain Home this weekend. Jacksonville takes a short trip north to face Cabot at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.