Leader Blues

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

SPORTS >>Devils wallop Falcons

By RAY BENTON
For the Leader

Jacksonville’s baseball team trailed North Pulaski early, but not for long Monday afternoon at Dupree Park. The Red Devils scored three in the bottom of the first to take a 3-1 lead, and went on for a 22-2 shellacking of the Falcons in a game that coaches for both teams had contemplated canceling.

“We have a conference doubleheader tomorrow and they have a conference doubleheader tomorrow,” Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows said. “It was just one of those games that happens sometimes when you’re saving your pitching and trying to get people playing time. We thought about not playing it, but we decided we’d rather get them on the field when we had the opportunity because we’ve missed so many games lately.”

NP leadoff hitter A.J. Allen reached on a walk to start the game. He moved to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. He was then caught in a rundown between third and home on a ground ball. Jacksonville executed the rundown well, getting Allen to run into a tag several feet in front of home plate, but catcher Caleb Mitchell dropped the ball.

Jacksonville took the lead in the bottom of the first when centerfielder Cameron Hood sent one the other way — a two-run home run over the right field fence that scored first baseman Jason Regnas who had reached on a walk.

Three batters later, a Mike Harmon single to left field scored Jeff Tillman, who was running for Mitchell.

A four-run third made it 7-1. Eight- and nine-hole hitters Tyler Wisdom and Jacob Abrahamson singled to lead things off.

Terrell Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Regnas singled to center to score one run. Hood was hit by a pitch to drive in another. Cleanup hitter Patrick Castleberry hit a sacrifice grounder and Mitchell singled to left to drive in the fourth run of the inning.

The Falcons got their second and final run on the first pitch of the third inning. Shaun Rase took a Noah Sanders’ breaking ball deep over the fence in left field to make it 7-2. Sanders fanned the next batter, walked two, then struck out anotherbefore walking the bases loaded, prompting Burrows to call Wisdom to the mound. Wisdom got out of the jam with a ground out.

Sanders gave up no hits in two and two-thirds innings, striking out four and walking five NP batters.

Jacksonville scored fifteen over the next two innings, aided greatly by seven North Pulaski errors.

The Red Devils were patient at the plate as well, drawing six free passes in the final two frames. Brown, Tillman, Regnas, Adrian Rodriguez and Seth Tomboli each got hits in the late rally.

Regnas put together the best overall performance at the plate, finishing 3 for 4 with a walk, two doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored. Hood went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs.

Wisdom gave up two hits in 2 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking no one. He fanned the side to close the game in the top of the fifth inning.

“We needed to get Pee Wee (Wisdom) some work because we’re going to start using him more,” Burrows said. “He did pretty well tonight.”

The win lifted Jacksonville to 8-9 on the year and they remain 1-3 in league play. The Red Devils faced Searcy in a 6A-East doubleheader last night after Leader deadlines. Look for details of that matchup in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.