Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

SPORTS >> A rough start for Red Devil baseball

By CHAD MATCHETT
Special to The Leader

Tuesday afternoon didn’t go as planned for Jacksonville in the Red Devil Classic.

The Red Devils fell 9-0 in five innings to the Greenbrier Panthers at Hickingbotham Field as the home team struggled offensively and on the mound.

Greenbrier needed only three hits to score all nine of its runs over the first two innings. Those hits were timely ones however, and went along with several Jacksonville walks.

Jacksonville ace Seth Tomboli ran into trouble early in the top of the first. Greenbrier put the first two batters on base with a single and a walk. Tomboli got the next two batters out with a pop-foul to first baseman Tommy Sanders and then a called third strike to the Panther cleanup hitter. Neither of the outs came easy as the count ran full both times.

A pair of walks after the outs forced in the first run of the game, followed by a grand slam that gave Greenbrier a quick 5-0 lead. A pop up to third ended the inning.

Terrell Brown led off the bottom of the first with a walk and eventually made his way to third, but was stranded there along with Caleb Mitchell on first. Mitchell was hit by a pitch.

Walks continued to plague the Red Devils in the top of the second. A walk to the first batter of the inning was followed by a sacrifice bunt by the leadoff hitter.
Greenbrier next six batters went home run, walk, single, walk, walk and a sacrifice fly that made the score 9-0. The sac fly came off of relief pitcher Jesse Harbin, who entered the game with a 2-0 count on the hitter.

Harbin was solid in relief, allowing just one walk and one hit over the final three innings.

Mike Harmon picked up Jacksonville’s first hit with a single up the middle in the bottom of the second. Jeffrey Tillman had the Red Devils’ only other hit, a single in the fourth inning.

Nick Rodriguez and Brown both reached base with walks in the fifth inning, but were left on base as a strikeout and groundout ended the game.