Lions stay hot, breeze past Gurdon
HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE — Fresh off an 8-2 win over rival Fountain Lake, Jessieville coach Ryan O’Neal got the repeat performance he was looking for Monday night.
The Lions had eight players deliver at least one base hit in a 14-2 romp of visiting Gurdon (3-11, 0-6) to improve to 9-7 overall and 3-4 in the 3A/4A-8 blended conference.
“It definitely gives me more confidence in them and them more confidence in themselves,” O’Neal said. “Being able to come out and continue to play at that level no matter who we’re playing is big. Gurdon’s got some good guys, they’re just a young group.”
Dillon Reece singled and later scored on a passed ball to give the Go-Devils a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but Jessieville answered right back in the bottom of the frame.
After Dalton McClard and Logan Perkins reached base safely leading off, Adam Saveall and Chase Pedersen each delivered an RBI groundout to give the Lions a 3-1 advantage.
“Hitting at the right time of year is the biggest thing,” said O’Neal. “Last year, we kind of fell off when we got to tournament time. I think we’re getting to where we’re almost where we want to be. We kind of have our lineup figured out and guys are starting to figure out their roles on the team. I expect us to keep on growing with it.”
Riley Leamons drew a walk and later scored on a Jessieville error to pull Gurdon within 3-2 midway through the second before the Lions broke the game open.
Jessieville batted through its lineup in the bottom of the
second as Oliver Nasilai roped a two-run single and Mayson Brashaw, McClard and Perkins each plated one run.
Having played in only seven games this season, Bradshaw finished with three singles and two RBIs from the eighth spot in the lineup.
“We’ve actually been looking at him as a designated hitter,” O’Neal said. “He’s just young as far as playing experience. He just needed time to get there and he’s starting to get there. Like we’ve been saying, he’s another guy peaking at the right time.”
Already with a 9-2 advantage, Jessieville continued to swing a hot bat in the bottom of the third. Pedersen had a two-run double, while Bradshaw, Saveall and Michael Vangilder each had one RBI to give the Lions a commanding 14-2 lead.
Taking over for McClard on the mound in the top of the fourth inning, sophomore Aaron Ford shut the door on any potential comeback bid by the Go-Devils.
Ford pitched two scoreless innings in relief, surrendering just one hit while issuing one walk.
“We knew Aaron could come in and throw strikes to eat up some innings,” said O’Neal. “We’re starting to get Adam (Saveall) built up too and hoping to get him out there soon to give us another arm as well.”
Pedersen reached base twice in three plate appearances for the Lions, finishing with a teamhigh three RBIs. Vangilder had one walk, two singles, one RBI and three stolen bases in three at-bats.
Kyle Kuhn had one single in two at-bats for the Go-Devils, but suffered the loss with nine runs allowed on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings pitched, striking out one while issuing three walks.
Jessieville is scheduled to travel to Lamar (7-7,
4-7) on Wednesday before hosting Bismarck (3-8,
3-4) on Thursday and closing the regular season on April 23 at Dierks (13-7, 6-0).
“We just have to stay competitive whether we’re in practice or in a game,” O’Neal said. “We’re looking to keep growing as ballplayers and young men. They’ve started to mature a little bit more and you can see the seniors start to take a little more ownership and be the leaders for us.”