2018 debut for Black Sox 15’s a struggle

Most of the Bryant Black Sox 15-year-old team was getting its first taste of American Legion baseball Tuesday night at Bryant High School Field. And the same may be said of the Everett Infiniti Cardinals, based in Haskell. But it was the Cardinals who got the bats going sooner and, though they didn’t blister many of their hits, they found the holes.

Behind the pitching of lefty James McCormick, the Cards pinned a 14-4 loss on the Sox in their 2018 debut.

Over five innings, McCormick scattered four hits, walked two, hit two and fanned four.

Meanwhile, it was a tough night for Bryant’s quartet of pitchers who, nonetheless, showed promise.

The Bryant team is scheduled to play again tonight at Bauxite.

Noah Davis and Slade Renfrow each had two hits for the Sox, who managed a run in the third off McCormick then scored three times against reliever Sean Small in the sixth.

Everett, meanwhile, road big innings in the third and the sixth to the lopsided victory. Small, Elijah King, Josh Prather and Trey Miller each had a pair of knocks.

Blaine Sears pitched a 1-2-3 first inning for the Sox then McCormick worked around a walk to Sears and a hit batsman (Renfrow) in the home half.

In the second, Chase Chilton led off for the Cardinals with a walk and King beat out an infield hit. McCormick bunted them over to second and third then Sears got Tristan Hammonds on a comebacker as Chilton held at third.

On the very next pitch, however, Prather singled to left to bring both runs home and Everett had a 2-0 lead.

Ethan Andrews walked to open the Bryant second, was sacrificed to second by Aaron Morgan but was stranded.

With eight bloops and bleeders, the Cards plated five runs in the top of the third. They loaded the bases on singles by Small, Cooper White and Jared Toler before Sears induced a doubleplay with a grounder to Christian Motes at second as Small scored to make it 3-0.

He then got in two strikes on King. A strike away from getting out of the jam with just one run in, the third pitch was too sweet, and King drilled a single that opened the floodgates, the first of five consecutive base hits. The Cards batted around before Sears fanned Small to end the inning.

Davis double for Bryant’s first hit in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Will Hathcote was hit by a pitch then Renfrow singled to left to make it 7-1. A wild pitch allowed Hathcote to reach third and Renfrow second, but they were stranded when Andrews’ two-out out grounder up the middle was deflected by McCormick and and Small, at short, was able to get to it in time for the out at first.

Lefty Tyler Bates relieved for the Sox in the fourth and proceded to retire the first six batters he faced including the last two on strikes. In the sixth, however, he issued lead-off walks to Prather and Miller. A wild pitch put both in scoring position for Small, who delivered a two-run single to make it 9-1.

Zion Collins relieved and struggled with his control, walking a pair then Motes took over. Chilton greeted him with a two-run single. A pair of hit batsmen, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Miller made it a seven-run inning.

Bryant didn’t go down without a little bit of a fight in the bottom of the sixth. Cameron McDonald greeted Small with a single to right. Josh Turner was hit by a pitch then a wild pitch put them at second and third. Collins hit a comebacker to Small, who threw home to nab McDonald, but Davis singled to load the bases and Sears came through with a two-run knock.

Hathcote got Davis home with a grounder to first but Small got out of the inning at that point, keeping it a run-rule lead and the game concluded.

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