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American Legion | Gwatney, Colts end season

Jacksonville’s Gwatney Chevrolet Senior American Legion team wrapped up their season in the state tournament this past weekend, losing two to a pair of talented teams.

Jacksonville lost their opening game 9-3 against Mountain Home, then came back the next morning for a 6-2 loss against Cabot.

Mountain Home came into their contest with a decent 19-12 record, but were thought to have the talent to be a threat to Bryant for the title. They showed they had the bats against Jacksonville ace Derek St. Clair.

St. Clair had a bit of shaky first inning, but that was mostly due to early control issues. Mountain Home sandwiched a single and a double around two walks and a hit batter to score three runs in the top of the first.

The Gwatney ace shut down the visitors over the next three innings, but was hit hard in the fifth as Mountain Home began to take their measure on their third time through the order. Three doubles and a single helped Mountain Home score three in the fifth inning, where St. Clair gave way to James Tucker. Tucker pitched the next two innings, with Brandon Hawkins pitching the final two.

Gwatney did score a pair in the bottom of the first, but the timely hits came to a halt after that inning. Courtland McDonald led off with a single, but got out on a fielder’s choice by Ryan Mallison. After another out, Mallison moved into scoring position when Greg Jones drew a walk and St. Clair singled. Tucker came through with a two-run double that made the score 3-2 after the first inning.

Jacksonville put runners on base almost every inning, but couldn’t get the follow-up hits they needed. Mallison scored Jacksonville’s final run in the fifth inning when he was hit by pitch, moved to third on a double from Blake Perry and scored on a deep sacrifice fly by Jones.

That same hitting problem raised its head when the Chevy Boys came back Saturday morning to take on Cabot. Gwatney lost 6-2, but had nine hits and left 12 men on base.

Jacksonville left two men on base in each of the first two innings before breaking through with both of their runs in the third. Mallison led off the inning with a single, was moved to second by Perry, then scored on a hit by St. Clair. St. Clair scored four pitches later when Tucker hit another RBI double. Brandon Hickingbotham was walked, but the inning ended on a fielder’s choice.

Gwatney left men on base in every inning except the ninth.

Hickingbotham got the start for Gwatney and pitched well, lasting into the seventh inning before Perry came in for relief in the heat. Both pitchers allowed three runs apiece.

McDonald and Tucker were both 2 for 4 to lead Jacksonville at the plate. Mallison, Jones, St. Clair, Hickingbotham and LaDerrious Perry all had hits for the Chevy Boys, who finished their season 9-12.

North Little Rock Colts

The Colts finished 17-7 on the season after they lost to Texarkana, 9-8. North Little Rock opened the tournament with a 12-2 loss to powerhouse Bryant before beating Fort Smith 13-3.

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