15U Black Sox open season with 5-4 win at Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — Jaylen Ryland scored all the way from first on a lined single to center by Luke Bickerstaff with one out in the top of the sixth to snap a 4-4 tie then Bickerstaff closed out the game on the mound as the Bryant Black Sox 15U American Legion team won their season-opener 5-4 over Jacksonville on Tuesday night.

Bickerstaff was the fourth Bryant pitcher and shut out Jacksonville over the final 3 innings.

At the plate, he had two of the Sox’ four hits and drove in a pair.

The 15U Sox are set to play a pair of games tonight at North Little Rock.

Bryant loaded the bases in the first when Jase Ham was hit by a pitch, Bickerstaff singled and, with two down, Clay Crawford was plunked. But all three were stranded.

Jacksonville grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the second, the Black Sox overcame that with four runs. Colson Billingsley was hit by a pitch and Brady Brower walked before Reid Catton singled to right to load the bags. Bickerstaff delivered the first run with a sacrifice fly then Carson Kemp drew an RBI walk.

With two down, Justen Myles’ grounder resulted in a throwing error that allowed all three runs to score. Myles wound up at third but was left aboard.

Jacksonville answered with two runs to tie in the bottom of the inning, and it stayed 4-4 until the Bryant rally in the top of the sixth.

Brayden Beenken, followed Gage Horn and Kemp to the mound, pitched around a pair of singles in the bottom of the third. Bickerstaff came on in the bottom of the fourth and worked his way out of a bases-loaded no-one-out jam with a pair of strikeouts and a liner to Horn at short.

In the fifth, a two-out error came to naught for Jacksonville.

Ryland walked to start the top of the sixth and, with one out, Bickerstaff knocked him in to snap the tie. After Bickerstaff was thrown out trying to steal, Horn and Caden Stovall walked but a strikeout ended the threat.

An error opened the door for Jacksonville in the bottom of the sixth but, on a comebacker to Bickerstaff, the Sox turned a doubleplay to take the starch out of any comeback hopes.

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