Leader Blues

Monday, March 19, 2007

SPORTS >>Jacksonville drops two against Pats

IN SHORT: The Red Devil baseball team lost both ends of a 6A-East doubleheader Tuesday night, falling to Marion to start league play on a sour note.

Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville started its conference schedule out with a bit of a slip, falling to Marion in straight games Tuesday in a 5A-East doubleheader at Marion High School. The Patriots took game one 10-2 before repeating in the nightcap with a 5-1 decision over the Red Devils.

“I thought our chances in conference were better this year until those two games,” Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows said. “Now, I’m not sure what to expect. I don’t know how you go from playing good baseball to playing bad baseball and making mistakes that you haven’t made all year.”

Marion stepped into the conference from 5A to replace Cabot, which left for the new 7A-East, but the Patriots don’t present any drop-off to the league’s toughness.

The offensive highlights were few and far between for the Red Devils on Tuesday. Junior Cameron Hood came away with the biggest play of the night for Jacksonville, with a single-run home run in the opening game.

Senior Ricky Tombolli grabbed the Devils’ other RBI in the opener with a squeeze bunt that drove in Tommy Sanders. Seth Tombolli took the loss on the mound in game one, and Sanders would end up as the losing pitcher in the twin game.

“We just didn’t play very hard,” Burrows said. “I wish I had an answer for why things went the way they did. “We had situations that we’ve faced in other games and did okay, but did something different for these games. If I had an answer, we could address it and correct it.”

The losses move Jacksonville’s record to 4-5 overall and 0-2 in the 6A-East Conference. The Red Devils will stay in league-play mode with a doubleheader this Tuesday in Mountain Home.