The Jacksonville Indians, sparked by a clutch piece of hitting by Mason Smith and a top shelf pitching performance by Ruston Diers, simply refused to lose in their non-district game against Rusk on saturday afternoon at Summers Norman Field.
Smith looped a single into right field with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning that drove Brett Eckles in to score the winning run as the Tribe (9-20) came from behind to edge the Eagles 3-2.
Diers, one of seven seniors who were honored in a pre-game ceremony, made sure his last performance at the JHS diamond was a memorable one.
Diers held the Eagles, who are in first place in District 19-3A, to two runs, both unearned, on three hits - all of which were singles. He struck out five and walked two in picking up the 96-pitch complete game victory.
Diers retired 13 of the last 14 Rusk batters that he faced.
Rusk (14-13) led 2-1 going into the Jacksonville half of the seventh.
The Tribe immediately got busy on carving out the comeback with Cash Cleaver delivering a pinch double to the gap in right to lead the frame of for the home team.
With one out, Eckles got aboard when the Rusk catcher could find the handle on the third strike, which allowed the speedy Eckles to beat the throw, with the ball getting past the Eagle first baseman, which gave Cleaver plenty of time to score what became the tying run, with Eckles moving up to second when the throw came in to the plate in an attempt to nab Cleaver.
That set the stage for Smith to do his magic, in walk-off fashion.
Eckles singled to start off the fifth segment for Jacksonville's remaining hit.
The loss spoiled what had been a solid starting outing by the Eagles' tall righty, Morgan Johnson, who was making a spot start for the Red and Black, who had posted a 5-0 win over Center on Friday evening.
Johnson worked five frames and didn't allow any runs while surrendering a lone hit and striking out five.
Jadarian Skinner worked the sixth in relief and allowed Jacksonville's first run.
MIchael Crews then came in and worked the seventh inning.
Rusk broke the scoring ice by plating a run in the second frame.
An Austin Ballew ground out to deep short plated Houston Munsinger from third. Munsinger led the frame off with a base hit up the middle that nearly undressed Diers.
In the top of the sixth Munsinger drove Crews in rom third after Crews stroked a one-out single to the left side.
Each club pulled off a double play and made two errors in the game.
Rusk left four runners stranded, while the Tribe left two aboard.
Jacksonville closes out the regular season tonight with a visit to state-ranked Corsicana.
Rusk played host to Groesbeck last night in a District 19-3A affair. Results of that game were not available as of press time.
NOTE: Seniors, Ruston Diers, Jeff Pryor, Dillion Rodriquez, Trevor Ewalt, Garrett Bonner, Zeke Edwards and Brett Eckles were honored during pre-game Senior Day ceremonies.
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21-A-I Track Championships: Alto boys cleanup; NS teams show improvement
The Alto Yellowjackets boys track team won the District 21-A-I Track & Field Championship by a landslide last week at J. F. Whitaker Stadium in Cushing.
The 'Jackets totaled 272.5 points, with Cushing (92) and New Summerfield (73) completing the top three.
“Our high school boys won district with 272 points, which is impressive to go over 200 points in any meet,” Alto athletic director, Paul Gould, said. “Our kids competed great and they represented Alto great. All of our coaches, as well as myself are pleased with the way that they got after it.”
For New Summerfield, the district meet brought another dose of improvement on the cinders for the Hornets and Lady Hornets.
JHS girls dealt unfavorable draws at regional tennis tourney
As the old sports saying goes, “sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.”
Lady Luck stayed far away from a trio of Jacksonville High tennis players on Monday as Ellie Day, Samantha Lee and Kristie Savage were in the Metroplex, having qualified for the Class 4A Region II Championship Tournament that was hosted by University Texas Arlington.
Schultz works overtime, sends Lady Guard to 5-4 victory
Brook Hill sophomore Taylor Schultz probably slept like a baby when she retired Monday night.
That's because Schultz excelled at the plate and on the pitching rubber as the Lady Guard whittled out a hard-fought, 5-4, district win over the Lady Saints of Dallas First Baptist on Monday afternoon.
Tribe soccer's special season culminates with regional tourney appearance
To put the Jacksonville Tribe boys soccer team's successful season and deep post season run in perspective, it had been just over three years since any team from Jacksonville had participated in a regional tournament.
And although the Tribe fell, 2-1, on the scoreboard to Spring Woods on Friday in the Class 4A, Region III semi-final, what this year's group was able to achieve will be remembered long after the painful memories of Friday's match fade away.
Eagle baseballers extend winning streak to 9
After Central Heights had tied the game in the top of the seventh, Rusk scored the winning run in the bottom half of the segment to run its winning streak to nine games by edging the Blue Devils, 3-2, in a non-district affair that took place at Eagle Park on Saturday.
FIghtin' Maiden softball looking to sew up playoff spot tonight
Jacksonvile's Fightin' Maiden softball team can lock down its first-ever playoff berth in the 13-year history of the program at 6 p.m. this evening when the Blue and White visit John Tyler at 6 p.m.
16-4A Track Meet: Thacker, Ambroson and 4X100 relay qualify for area meet
Datavion Thacker qualified in two events, one field and another running, while Josh Ambroson excelled in the discus competition at the District 16-4A Track and Field Meet, which played out Wednesday and Thursday at Eagle Stadium in Lindale.
Jacksonville Lions Club Charity Golf tourney set for April 19
The Jacksonville Lions Club Annual Charity Golf Tournament, a four-man scramble, is scheduled for Saturday, April 19 at The Challenge at the Woods in Jacksonville.
Spring turkey time just around the corner
It's almost curtain time for East Texas spring turkey hunters. The spring gobbler season gets underway April 15 and runs through May 14 in 28 counties.
21-2A District Track Meet: Troup athletes start off strong
Maybe it was the familiarity of competing at Tiger Stadium in front of supporting friends and family, or maybe it was simply an intense amount of preparation and training.
Whatever the “it” factor was for the Troup Tigers and Lady Tigers seemed to fuel the squads to a fast start on Wednesday, the opening day of the District 21-2A Meet, which is used to decide the circuit's representatives into the upcoming area meet.
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- 21-A-I Track Championships: Alto boys cleanup; NS teams show improvement