Leader Blues

Friday, April 04, 2008

SPORTS >>Rusty Red Devils drop two

Leader sportswriter

The rain over the past two weeks has generated plenty of rust — and that includes the Jacksvonille Red Devils.

Jacksonville dropped a pair of games to 6A-East powerhouse Marion on Wednesday. The Patriots routed the Red Devils 11-4 in the opener. Though Jacksonville stayed close in the nightcap, they fell 9-6.

“We looked like we hadn’t been on a practice field in a while, which we hadn’t,” Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows said. “They had not been either, so that’s really no excuse. We need to be on the practice field as much as we can.”

The Red Devils fell to 7-9 overall and 1-3 in 6A-East Conference play.

Burrows said the early season struggles at theplate have been remedied to some extent. But he said the defense and pitching has taken a turn for the worse.

“We’ve been hitting better,” Burrows said, “but these last few games, we’ve played bad defensively, and we’ve given up way too many walks. We have got to put both halves together. We’re getting more runs, but defensively, we have to get better.”

Freshman Patrick Castleberry led the Red Devils against Marion. Castleberry and Terrell Brown each finished with three hits in the twin bill. Castleberry also drove in four runs. Jason Regnas drove in a pair of runs in the nightcap.

“We played hard; we just made too many mistakes,” Burrows said. “We didn’t play well enough to beat a 16-2 team like Marion, that’s for sure. Our practice field and game field neither one drain very well, and it’s gotten us a couple of days behind.”

Jacksonville took the lead in game two, albeit briefly. The Patriots scored two runs in the opening inning and another in the third, but a four-run third inning put the Devils out in front for the first time all night.

They put up two more runs in the following frame to build a 6-3 lead, but Marion finished strong with three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth.

The remainder of Jacksonville’s games for the week were cancelled by Thursday morning. The Red Devils are scheduled to take on West Memphis on Tuesday.