Leader Blues

Monday, June 11, 2007

SPORTS>>Jacksonville can’t get hits against Cogswell

By RAY BENTON AND JASON KING
Leader sports staff

The Jacksonville AAA American Legion team lost 2-1 to Russellville Thursday at Dupree Park. Jacksonville hurler Casey Winstead threw five innings of shutout ball before giving up one earned and one unearned run in the top of the sixth inning.
The Gwatney team rallied in the bottom of the seventh, scoring one run and putting runners on second and third with two outs, but couldn’t get the base hit that likely would have won the game.

“We hit the ball allright, we just couldn’t get a timely hit,” Jacksonville AAA head coach Bob Hickingbotham said. “We hit it hard four or five times, but right at people. We made some mistakes in the field, but overall we played well enough to win, we just didn’t get it done.”

Russellville’s first run came off an error, and even the earned run was out of Winstead’s control.

A routine groundball to first base turned into a base hit when it took a bad hop and bounced off Jason Regnas’ shoulder. Second baseman Terrell Brown was in position to back up the play, but couldn’t corral the ball and make the throw to first in time.

“You can’t give Regnas an error because he was in position to make the play, it just took off on him,” Hickingbotham said. “You’d have to call it a base hit, but Winstead did his job too. He pitched a good game. That’s his third time on the mound and his second really good outing. He pitched a fine game against Sylvan Hills, and did a good job out there last night too.”
Regnas scored Gwatney’s only run. He walked to start the bottom of the seventh, moved to second on sacrifice grounder, took third on a wild pitch and scored on another ground ball.

Jacksonville put runners in scoring position several times. It’s best chance to score came in the fifth inning when Seth Tomboli stepped to the plate with one out and runners on second and third.

He hit a hard line drive down the third base line, but the Cogswell Motors third baseman was playing the line tight, made the catch and stepped on the bag to end the threat and the inning.

“That was just the kind of night it was for us,” Hickingbotham said. “Right now we’re just trying to get better and I’m not too upset about how we played. Things just didn’t go our way.”

The Jacksonville A Legion team built up a good lead in the middle of their game against Benton blue on Tuesday, but mental mistakes allowed blue to overtake Gwatney in the late going to take the win 6-4.

The first three innings went scoreless for both teams, but the Chevy boys were able to execute well in the top of the fourth inning for all four their scores in the contest. Benton was able to answer two of those scores in the bottom of the frame off of four hits and a pair of Jacksonville errors.

Errors allowed Benton to close in on Gwatney in the fourth, but they would prove even more devastating in the fifth inning. Benton went from trailing by two at the start of their turn in the bottom of the fifth to leading by a pair before it was over. Three more errors were the major culprit of the defensive breakdown in the fifth, but Gwatney coach Travis Lyda says fatigue has played a factor in the early stages of their season.

“We have a lot of guys that play on the A and AAA team,” We’ve had some mental mistakes, but some of it has simply been from being tired physically. We took a couple of days off to let the guys recover some.”

Clayton Fenton took the loss at the mound for Gwatney, after throwing a solid game for four innings before being relieved.
“Clayton pitched well, we just made some goofy mistakes,” Lyda said. “We’ve been doing good here, and doing good there, but what we really need is a big dose of doing good.”

Gwatney A will be in action today at Morrilton after another road game last night against Maumelle.