Leader Blues

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

SPORTS>>Chevy Boys shut down

Leader sportswriter

The Chevy boys took their toughest loss of the early season to North Little Rock Monday night at Dupree Park. The Colts shut out Gwatney 8-0 in a no-hitter effort for pitcher Brandon Von Ohlen. Von Ohlen was working a perfect game until he walked Seth Tomboli in the bottom of the fifth inning, and a fielding error at third base in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed leadoff batter Blake Mattison to reach for the only two Jacksonville trips to the diamond in the entire contest.

North Little Rock struck in the top of the first inning for a pair of runs, and slowly extended its lead through the remaining innings. Jacksonville kept the game somewhat in reach until reliever Clayton Fenton gave up back to back home runs to start out the seventh inning. A.J. Williamson and Matthew Strickley’s blasts over the wall increased a 5-0 lead to 7-0, and a balk by Fenton with the bases loaded later on in the frame scored Patrick Strack to set the final score.

Gwatney starting pitcher Seth Tomboli struggled to start out the game, giving up a single to leadoff batter Clark Sims. Sims advanced on a double by Dean Larson, and would score the first run of the game when three-hole hitter Strickley reached after beating the throw to first from Gwatney catcher Zach Thomas on a passed-ball strikeout.

Tomboli regrouped at that point, striking out two of the final three batters during the turn, but Strack came away with a single to center between the two Ks to score Larson for the other first-inning run.

After what would become a routine three-up, three-down scenario for Gwatney in the bottom of the first inning, Tomboli and the Jacksonville defense looked to have things under control in the second inning. Tomboli sent NLR three and out in the top of the second, including his third strikeout of the game on Wes Coleman to retire the side.

North Little Rock added two more runs in the top of the third. Sims doubled to start out the inning, and scored moments later on a passed ball to make it 3-0. The passed ball would have been the fourth strikeout for Tomboli, but NLR batter Larson took the free base, and would later put up score number four for the Colts on a single by Strack.

Von Ohlen’s changeup kept the Chevy batters off-balance for the entire contest. Seven-hole hitter Larry Simone took a different approach for Gwatney to lead off the bottom of the third, but his attempt at a bunt led to a pop up to Von Ohlen, and the pitcher closed out the frame with back-to-back strikeouts on Ricky Tomboli and Terrell Brown.

Seth Tomboli held the interval at four runs in the top of the fourth inning, only giving up a walk to Sims before striking out Larson for the third out, but Gwatney would go another inning with no one reaching in the bottom of the inning.

Through five innings, Tomboli gave up five runs on seven hits and four errors. Fenton would take over at the mound in the top of the sixth inning, holding the Colts scoreless despite a hit from Coleman and an error to allow Larson to reach. Coleman got picked at second base on a great play by Brown, and Fenton got his first strikeout of the game on Strickley to retire NLR in the sixth.

Fenton may have escaped without giving up a score in the sixth, but the seventh would be a different story, as Williamson, in his first batting attempt of the game, jacked it over left field wall to start out the inning. Strack followed that with a huge blast over the 375’ mark in centerfield.

The Colts finished with eight runs on 12 hits, and capitalized on five Jacksonville errors. Gwatney Chevrolet will play…