Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SPORTS>> Chevy boys fall short in finals

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

It was a bizarre end to an otherwise solid tournament for Gwatney Chevrolet at the sixth annual Junior Legion tournament at Dupree Park over the weekend.

The Chevy boys let a 9-1 lead evaporate as Sheridan roared back to claim the tournament championship with an 11-9 win on Sunday night.

The Chevy boys were strong in both pool games, defeating Benton on Friday before recording their third-straight win over Sylvan Hills the following day. That pitted them against the Yellowjackets in the title game.

Sheridan scored the first run of the game in the top of the second, but a nine-run Gwatney eruption in the bottom half appeared to have put the game out of reach.

The ’Jackets put themselves back in the game when a heavily subbed Gwatney infield began to falter in the top of the fourth inning, resulting in a five-run spree for Sheridan.

From there, the momentum completely switched. Not even putting reliever Tommy Sanders on the mound for Gwatney in the sixth inning could slow the Yellowjackets down, as they scored three more runs in the frame to overtake the Chevy boys for the title.

Gwatney scored all its runs in the second inning, sending 15 batters to the plate. Cleanup batter Patrick Castleberry led off the inning with a double, followed by a single bloop to left field by Matt McAnally. Daniel Thurman was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

One out later, Hayden Simpson singled in McAnally, and an error after the play allowed Thurman in for a 2-1 Gwatney lead. Jeff
Tillman then singled to score Toney.

A.J. Allen then belted his third home run of the tourney — a 3-run shot that stretched the lead to 6-1. But Gwatney was just getting started.

Terrell Brown singled, and Caleb Mitchell greeted relief pitcher Cody Clemons with a double. Castleberry reached on an error, allowing Brown to score, and a groundout by McAnally plated Simpson. Walks to Thurman and Toney loaded the bases, and Simpson got the final Gwatney RBI of the game when he singled to score Castleberry to make it 9-1. Sheridan made up one run in the top of the third when Jordan Batchelor came in on a passed ball, but a three-hit, three-error debacle in the top of the fourth highlighted by a three-run double by Landon Moore, gave the Yellowjackets momentum, as Gwatney managed only two hits over the final four innings.

Simpson was 2 of 3 for Gwatney with two RBI. Brown was 2 of 3 with a double, and Allen was 1 of 3 with a home run and three RBI. For Sheridan, Jacob Brown was 2 of 4 with a RBI, while Clemons got the win at the mound.

Gwatney Junior Legion will host Sylvan Hills for a double- header today starting at 6 p.m.