By Chan Davis
OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF
SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s AAA American Legion baseball team got a little revenge Tuesday night at Oliver Williams Field with a 12-2 thumping of Hot Springs Lakeside (13-7) to improve to 13-1.
The victory avenged last week’s loss to Lakeside in what turned out not to be a game. With Sheridan leading 1-0 in the second inning, a Yellowjacket baserunner was ejected from the affair after running over Lakeside’s catcher. Sheridan had only nine players on the bench to start the outing, forcing the Jackets to forfeit the affair with only eight remaining.
“We only had nine players just like we did tonight,” Sheridan coach J.R. Ware said. “After the collision at the plate we had to forfeit the game. That was our loss, very unfortunate. So we talked about that before the game tonight.”
Tuesday’s outing wasn’t much of a game either, as the Jackets dominated the Rams, scoring once in the first, three times in the second and fifth and posting a five-spot in the fourth as the game was called due to the mercy rule after five.
“They are a really good team,” Lakeside coach Andy Parker said. “We got beat by them last year in the state championship game in AA and they have pretty much the same team this year. So they are good. And we are missing a few of our starters and had to play people out of position.”
Nick Ware collected the win for Sheridan, lasting the distance after not seeing mound action in more than 1 1/2 years.
“I haven’t pitched in a while,” the right-handed hurler said. “I was trying to keep my pitch count down. My arm is a little sensitive after not throwing in about 18 months or so. But it was good to be back out there.”
Ware gave up four hits, three of which came in the fifth inning when the Rams battered out two runs. He fanned six, walked one and hit a batter.
“That was just a little fatigue from not throwing in a while,” Ware said of the late inning struggle. “I was just trying to stay ahead in the count and keep the ball in play so my teammates could make plays. I just wanted to give us a chance to win.”
He made quick work of Lakeside in the middle innings, retiring the side in order in the second, third and fourth innings.
“The first one is always the tough one for me,” Ware admitted. “After I get through that I can usually settle down a little bit and go a little more.”
Had Sheridan not plated the decisive runs in the bottom of the fifth, Ware said he was not returning to the rubber for the top of the sixth.
“I was done for sure,” he said. “There is no doubt about that. My arm was Jell-O in that last inning. (Coach Ware) told me I was going to be done anyway. But it was a mutual decision.”
Ware also contributed to the offensive outburst, scoring on all four plate appearances with a single, two walks and an error by Lakeside third baseman Taylor Street.
Zach Perkins led Sheridan’s potent offense against three Lakeside pitchers with three singles and two RBIs. Luke Nanneman and John Strange, who was called up from the AA Legion squad to fill the roster, had two singles and drove in a pair each. Grady Finley collected two singles.
Austin Softley absorbed the loss in two innings of work. Spencer Hecke pitched the third and fourth and Aiden Watson surrendered the final three runs in the fifth.
The Jackets continue action tonight with a scheduled doubleheader against Bryant at Oliver Williams Field.