SPORTS>>Red Devils pick up pair of key wins
Special to the Leader
FORREST CITY — Jacksonville picked up a pair of critical conference wins on Monday afternoon at Forrest City.
The Red Devils won the opener 3-1 in 10 innings, and edged the Mustangs 7-6 in the nightcap.
The sweep propelled the Red Devils to 11-11 overall and 4-4 in the 6A-East.
“We’ve been competing all year and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Jacksonville head coach Larry Burrows. “We’ve gotten better over the last month. We haven’t always played well, but we’ve fought hard every game.”
Forrest City took a 1-0 lead in the first game in the bottom of the second inning when Leslie Parker scored from third when Jacksonville catcher Patrick Castleberry made the throw to second base with Chance Pearson stealing. Parker trotted home for the 1-0 lead.
Jacksonville knotted the game at 1-1 in the top of the third when Terrell Brown scored from second base on a passed ball and a throwing error after belting a two-out double to center field.
It stayed at 1-1 until the top of the 10th when Jacksonville’s Cameron Hood hit a long fly ball to centerfield, which was misplayed and rolled all the way to the fence. Jason Regnas, who had walked, scored, as did Hood, who never slowed down after the Forrest City error.
Regnas, on the mound in relief of starter Seth Tomboli, sat down the Mustang side in the bottom of the 10th for the 3-1 win.
Forrest City starting pitcher Justin Cochran worked the first eight innings before giving way to Joey Bonds.
Cochran gave up one run on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Bonds allowed one hit and one walk with three strikeouts.
All three Jacksonville runs were unearned.
Tomboli, coming off a big win over Searcy last week, went eight innings giving up the one run on nine hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Regnas issued one walk in his two innings but did not allow a run or a base hit.
Brown led the Red Devils from the plate, going 2-for-5.
In the nightcap, Forrest City scored four runs in the top of the first inning to open a quick 4-0 lead over the Red Devils.
The Mustangs sent 10 batters to the plate and used five hits and one walk to do the early damage.
Jacksonville answered in the bottom of the first inning with one run to cut the Mustang lead to 4-1.
Regnas worked his way on base using a Forrest City error and scored on Hood’s RBI double.
Forrest City made it a 5-1 game in the top of the second when Barrett Beshears tripled and scored on Findley Scott Laws’ RBI single.
The Red Devils used single runs from Brown and Regnas in the bottom of the third to cut the Mustang lead to 5-3. Brown walked and scored on an RBI double, while Regnas scored on Caleb Mitchell’s ground out.
Jacksonville tied the game in the bottom of the fifth as Regnas scored his third run of the game, leading off with a single and scoring. Castleberry singled and scored on Mitchell’s RBI single.
Mitchell’s hit prompted a Forrest City pitching change as starter Barrett Astin left in favor of Laws, with one on and one out.
Laws worked out of the inning without further damage.
The Mustangs regained the lead at 6-5 in the top of the seventh inning when Ray Patillo doubled and scored on Pearson’s RBI triple.
Pearson was left standing at third base as the final two outs were made.
Jacksonville won the game in the bottom of the seventh when Castleberry and Mitchell both singled to lead off the inning.
Castleberry scored on Jeffrey Tillman’s base hit and a Forrest City error while Mitchell came around to score the game-winning run on Tyler Wisdom’s base hit to end the game.
Regnas went four innings and gave up five runs on eight Forrest City hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Mike Harmon worked the final three innings giving up one run on five hits with four strikeouts.
Astin lasted 4-1/3 innings giving up five runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts before giving way to Laws who gave up two runs on four hits and had four strikeouts.
Beshears scored twice to lead the Mustangs while Cory Deere, William Burks, Mark Machen and Patillo all added single runs.
Regnas led Jacksonville with three runs while Castleberry scored twice.
“Each week, we’ve talked about getting a little better than the week before, and I think it is starting to show,” Burrows said.
“That was two big wins that I think we earned. We played well in all but two innings out of 17.”