Leader Blues

Friday, April 18, 2008

SPORTS >>Red Devils take one of two

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows has many reasons to hope that his pitching staff stays solid. According to the head Red Devil,
how the staff is performing pretty much determines how the team does.

That could not have been illustrated any better than Tuesday’s 6A-East Conference split with Searcy. A complete-game, three-hitter from Seth Tomboli in the opener led to a 6-2 win for Jacksonville, while a big first inning at the plate for Searcy in the nightcap led to a 9-4 Red Devil loss.

The Lions first six batters scored in the nightcap, and with their first eight reached safely before senior Jason Regnas came in relief to stop the bleeding for Jacksonville. Regnas allowed only one hit from that point on, but the damage was already done.
Still, Burrows was happy to get at least one win against a traditionally tough team like Searcy.

“It was big for us,” Burrows said. “At Marion, we couldn’t have played much worse than what we did, and we still had our chances there. We needed a strong night pitching, and Tomboli did a good job in that first game. Searcy’s always a tough team, and he did a great job of holding them back.

“It’s been that way for us all year — the way the pitching goes seems to be the way everything else goes for us. If the pitching is good, we hit well and field well. If it’s off, we’re off.”

Caleb Mitchell gave Jacksonville the early lead when he grounded out to drive in the first run of the game in the top of the first inning. Searcy tied the game one inning later, but the Devils added two runs in the top of the third, and never trailed.

The Lions pulled to within one in the bottom of the third, but the top of the order came through for Jacksonville in the top of the sixth inning.

Leadoff batter Terrell Brown reached with a hit, and advanced on Regnas’ walk. Cameron Hood drove in both runners with basehit, and scored on clean-up hitter Patrick Castleberry’s single.

Castleberry finished 3 of 4 with a double and two RBI. Brown was 2 of 4 and scored two runs, while Regnas finished 1 of 1 with three walks. He also scored twice. Hood went 2 of 3 with a double and two RBI.

In the nightcap, Brown, Regnas, Hood, Tomboli and Jacob Abrahamson each had a hit.

Jacksonville moved to 9-10 overall and 2-4 in the 6A-East Conference after the split. The Red Devils will be back in action on Tuesday with a doubleheader at Forrest City.