JONESBORO — Wednesday evening’s doubleheader with Marion played out differently than Jonesboro coach Mark Dobson anticipated.
The Hurricane and Patriots, both featuring multiple college prospects, split a high-scoring 5A-East doubleheader at Woodland Field. Marion took the first game 11-8 before Jonesboro won the nightcap 12-6.
Given the quality of the pitching, Dobson was looking for lower scores.
“I went in thinking that hey, if you scored four runs, you were going to have a chance to win. It wasn’t that at all,” Dobson said. “There were huge offensive numbers put up by both teams. It was exciting baseball, it was just different than what I expected.”
Marion (12-3, 3-1 5A-East) grabbed the upper hand in the first game as Arkansas State signee Daedrick Cail launched three home runs. Cail was 3-for-3 with five runs batted in and also pitched the final 2 2/3 innings for a save.
Jonesboro, which was 13-3 entering two games Thursday in Jackson, Tenn., roared back in the second game to improve to 3-1 in the 5A-East. Cross Jumper and Sawyer Bentley, who have signed with Tennessee and Arkansas State, respectively, drove in three runs each.
Brennan Payne gave the Hurricane a lift on the mound in the second game. Taking over for Jumper in the first inning, Payne pitched 6 1/3 innings for the victory, holding Marion to two runs and seven hits while striking out 11 batters.
“He’s a great competitor and he fights all the time out there with everything he’s got. He did a good job,’” Dobson said. “He came out after the first inning and he said, ‘Coach, I feel great.’ He really, really threw well for us.”
Marion took a 4-2 lead in the first inning of the second game, but Jumper launched a two-run home run in the second inning as the Hurricane rallied for a 5-4 lead. Payne tripled and scored as part of a three-run third that gave Jonesboro an 8-4 lead.
After Marion scored once in its half of the third, Jumper drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and Dawson Wagner scored on a wild pitch for a 10-5 lead in the fourth. Bentley’s two-run single gave the Hurricane a 12-6 lead in the seventh.
Wagner was 2-for-4 with a double and scored four runs in the second game. Ty Rhoades was 2-for-3 with two RBI and saved a run in the fourth by throwing out Cail after fielding a hard-hit ball at third base. Will Barre’ was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Rhett Hosman doubled and drove in a run.
Cail was 3-for-4 with a double in the second game to finish the day 6-for-7. Connor Taylor was 2-for-4 and drove in four runs for the Patriots.
Marion led the first game 7-0 before Jonesboro’s bats got going against Chase Armstrong in the fourth inning. Hosman was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI, while Rhoades homered and drove in two runs. Wagner tripled and drove in two runs.
Dobson said Cail has five home runs in his last four games against the Hurricane.
“You don’t see three (homers) by one person in a game too often and it hurt bad because he had people on base when he did it,” Dobson said. “He’s a competitor and we’ve seen it playing him for years now.”
Armstrong pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, five walks and five runs while striking out seven. Jonesboro starter Josh Hyneman pitched 2 1/3 innings, yielding four hits and six runs while striking out two and walking two.
The Hurricane played Dyer County, Tenn., and Creek Wood of Charlotte, Tenn., on Thursday. Jonesboro continues 5A-East play Tuesday at Batesville.