Leader Blues

Friday, June 27, 2008

SPORTS>>Fenton tosses 3-hit shutout in Gwatney win

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

SHERIDAN — The familiar ping of aluminum bats was replaced with the occasional crack of wooden ones as Jacksonville Gwatney Chevrolet got pool play under way on Thursday afternoon in the Sheridan Wood Bat Tournament.

The absence of aluminum firepower seemed to matter little to Gwatney, which belted 12 hits on its way to an 11-0 win over Little Rock Blue. Clayton Fenton tossed a 3-hit shutout for Gwatney, striking out five and allowing only one walk.

Four Chevy boys produced two hits apiece as Gwatney hit throughout the lineup. Gwatney took on Benton on Friday afternoon and will conclude pool play today against Maumelle.

Gwatney took advantage of two Blue errors in the first inning to grab a 2-0 lead. Adam Ussery walked and moved to second on Terrell Brown’s bunt single. Ussery came around on Cameron Hood’s groundout to second, and Brown scored on an error on the shortstop.

Fenton issued a leadoff walk in the first, but only one Blue player reached base until the fifth when Davis Ward beat out an infield single in the third.

Gwatney added four more runs in the second.

Tyler Wisdom drew a one-out walk and moved to second on Ussery’s solid single to left. After Brown walked, Matt McAnally lined a 2-run single to left.

Patrick Castleberry was safe on an infield hit and Hood made it 5-0 with a force out at third base that scored Brown.
Castleberry scored when Ricky Tomboli was safe on an error.

Hood and Tomboli delivered one-out singles in the fourth. Hood scored on a throwing error and Tomboli came around later on the play when the first baseman held the ball and failed to throw home.

Gwatney busted it wide open in the fifth with three more runs to invoke the mercy rule. Brown was hit and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Tomboli had an RBI single and Jared Toney got an RBI when he was hit with a pitch with the bases loaded.

The only trouble Fenton ran into was in the fifth when the first three Blue players reached safely — on a long double to the fence in left, a single and an error. But Fenton preserved the shutout with two strikeouts and a pop to first to end it.

Ussery, Hood, Tomboli and Wisdom each collected two hits. Brown scored three runs, while McAnally and Hood each drove in two.

The winners of each of the four pools will play in the semifinals on Sunday at 2 p.m., with the finals to take place immediately afterward.