SPORTS>> Junior Gwatney team gets power jolt from Allen
Leader sports editor
Gwatney Junior American Legion concluded a 2-0 pool-play run in the sixth annual Gwatney Junior Legion Tournament on Saturday with a charity-laden 10-3 win over Sylvan Hills.
The Chevy boys were the beneficiaries of six Sylvan Hills errors, six walks and five hit batsman, and required just four hits to produce their 10 runs.
On Friday night, A.J. Allen provided the big punch by belting two home runs — including a sixth-inning grand slam — and driving in five runs in Gwatney’s 7-4 win over Benton.
On Saturday, Gwatney starter Hayden Simpson allowed just one hit over four innings, but fell behind 1-0 after a hit batter and Blake Radson’s RBI single in the first.
The Chevy boys put up five in the first on just two hits. An error, a strikeout-wild pitch, two walks and a hit batsman aided Gwatney greatly in the inning. The big hits were Marshall Shipley’s rocket 2-run double to left-center and Nicholas Rodriguez’s run-scoring single to center.
Gwatney added three more in the second. Allen was hit by a pitch, but was thrown out trying to steal by Sylvan Hills’ catcher Ross Bogart. But Matt McAnally walked and Daniel Thurman was hit with a pitch. A throwing error and a wild pitch scored McAnally, and Shipley belted his second double to bring home Thurman. Shipley scored on Sylvan Hills’ fourth error of the game to make it 8-2.
The game remained that way until Korey Arnold’s double and Justin Cook’s single cut the lead to 8-3 in the sixth.
A walk, Jonathan Delf’s infield single and a throwing error accounted for Gwatney’s final two runs in the sixth.
Sylvan Hills reliever Michael Lock pitched solidly after entering in the second inning, allowing just two hits and two earned runs over the final 4 1/3 innings.
Shipley was 2 of 3 with three RBI. For Sylvan Hills, five players had a hit apiece.
Against Benton, Stephen Swaggerty went the distance to get the win, allowing only two hits and fanning 14 over six innings.
Patrick Castleberry had a double and a run scored.
The game was tied 3-3 in the sixth when Tom Sanders and Jared Toney were hit by pitches and Simpson singled to load the bases. Allen then hit his second home run of the game to make it 7-3.
Allen added a third home run in the championship game.
SYLVAN HILLS 10, NORTH LITTLE ROCK 3
The Bruins took home fifth place in the tournament with a win over the Colts on Sunday. Sylvan Hills jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first on RBI singles by Austin Spears and Jake Dillon.
Spears went 3 of 4 with two runs and an RBI.
The Bruins fell 8-3 to Benton on Saturday evening. Sylvan Hills scored all of its runs in the third, getting an RBI double from Spears and an RBI single from William Carter.