Leader Blues

Friday, July 25, 2008

SPORTS>>Gwatney still alive after rally vs. Bruins

By KELLY FENTON
Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Gwatney Chevrolet senior American Legion season stayed alive after a 16-12 comeback win over Sylvan Hills Blue in an elimination game in the Zone 3 Tournament Friday morning at Burns Park.

The Chevy Boys rallied from an 8-4 deficit in the seventh inning and will take on Fridayís Maumelle-Morrilton winner in another elimination game today at 4.

About 24 hours earlier, Gwatney opened the Zone 3 Tournament with a 14-4 walloping at the hands of Russellville in a game in which the Chevy Boys managed only three hits and committed six errors.

Gwatney had only one hit through the first five innings off Russellville starter and winner Trevor Holt. Yet they were able to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a walk to Adam Ussery, a stolen base, an error and Patrick Castleberryís sacrifice fly.

But Gwatney returned the favor in the bottom half, giving up an unearned run as Russellville knotted the score 1-1.

The bottom fell out for Gwatney starter Michael Harmon in the second inning, when Russellville busted open the game with six runs on six hits. The first five reached before Harmon recorded a strikeout. But Eric Sanchez delivered the big blow with a 3-run double that made it 6-1. Mack Pickering continued the onslaught with a run-scoring double with two outs.

Gwatney had a promising start to its fourth when Castleberry and Jason Regnas drew leadoff walks. A wild pitch and Daniel Henardís sacrifice fly narrowed the gap to 7-2, but that was all the damage they could do in the inning.

Russellville, a stout-hitting club, kept pouring it on in the fourth and fifth, adding four more runs to make it 11-2.

Two walks, a hit batsman, Henardís ground out and Ricky Tomboliís single in the sixth closed the gap to 11-4.

Russellville benefited from two more errors and a hit batsman, adding a double and a single to score three runs in the sixth to make it 14-4.

Gwatney had a chance to extend the game and avoid the 10-run rule when it put two on with one out in the seventh after Jared Toney reached on an infield single and Terrell Brown was hit with a pitch. But reliever Derrick Pledger got the next two to end it.

Harmon walked only one and hit a batter, but gave up 10 hits over five innings. Seven of 11 runs he yielded were earned.

Harmon struck out four.

Tyler Wisdom gave up two hits and two earned runs in one inning of relief.

Despite going 0 for 2, Henard drove in a pair of runs, while Castleberry drove in a run and scored two. Brown, Tomboli and Toney got the only hits for Gwatney ó all singles.