SPORTS >>Jacksonville AAA dominates Sheridan
By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
Jacksonville’s A and AAA teams split a rain-soaked doubleheader with Sheridan Tuesday at Dupree Park. The A team struggled through lackluster performances in just its second game in 18 days, losing 9-2 after taking the early lead in the first inning.
The AAA Chevy boys turned in one of their best-hitting games of the season, beating the Yellowjackets 7-2 in a game that was called due to increasingly heavy rain in the bottom of the fourth inning, which was just enough of play to count as an official game.
Jacksonville got its offense rolling in the second inning, but it was a big third frame that did in the visitors.
In the second, Seth Tomboli singled to centerfield and scored two batters later when Sheridan mis-communicated and failed to field a high fly ball to left-centerfield off the bat of Daniel Henard.
Gwatney got six runs in the third on just two base hits, including four runs before getting a hit. Blake Mattison started things off by being the first of three Jacksonville players to get hit by a pitch in the frame. Jason Regnas reached on an error at third base that he helped along. The throw from third to first was up the first base line and forced the Sheridan first baseman to stretch up the line to make the catch. Regnas barreled over the intruding fielder and the ball sailed into the fence beside the visitors’ dugout on a one-hop.
Cameron Hood popped up to second base fro the first out, but the rally was still far from over. Zach Thomas was then hit to load the bases and Brian Thurman reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Mattison. Tomboli then walked to load the bases again, and Eric Berry took one for the team to drive in the second run of the frame.
Thurman also tried to score all the way from second on Berry’s sacrifice, but was called out at home plate. The throw beat Thurman to the plate, but the tag was off target as Thurman’s hook-slide avoided the tag. Nevertheless, Jacksonville added three more runs in the frame to claim complete control of the contest.
Henard stepped up after Thurman’s out and doubled to centerfield to drive in two runs. Adam Ussery then singled to center to finish the scoring in the frame. Ussery was picked off at second base to end the inning.
The intensity of the rain picked up at the start of the fourth inning, but after a long discussion, the decision was made to continue play. Jacksonville pitcher Casey Winstead did his job in the frame, sitting Sheridan down in order quickly to make it official.
Gwatney appeared on the brink of another rally when the plate umpire called the game. Mattison led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple and Regnas walked just before the game ended with no outs.
Winstead finished the four innings with only three hits allowed, four walks and three strikeouts.
Jacksonville picked up six base hits with Henard and Mattison hitting for extra bases.
The win lifts the Gwatney AAA team to 6-14 on the season.
The A squad saved its pitching for the currently ongoing zone tournament in Maumelle, but also played poorly in its loss. The Gwatney A team committed four errors that led to six unearned runs. The loss dropped the squad to 10-8-1.
The elder Chevy boys are off this weekend while the A team plays its zone tournament in Maumelle. They will be back on the field next Tuesday with a road game at Little Rock Continental Express. They will travel to Maumelle on Wednesday, and won’t be back home until Monday, July 16 when they host Bryant.