AA Sox find a way in extra innings
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, BryantDaily.com will be posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
When Drew Ransdell cracked a liner to the gap in left-center for a double with one out in the ninth inning, it ended a stretch in which Hot Springs Lakeside pitchers Art Slaton and Josh Ritter had set down 16 Bryant Black Sox in a row. It was just the second hit of the game, in fact, for the Sox.
And when Ransdell advanced to third on a wild pitch by Ritter and Justin Blankenship blooped a single to right, Ransdell scored the only run of the extra-inning battle, giving Bryant a 1-0 win in the contest held Monday, May 21, at Bryant High School Field.
Sox pitchers Kaleb Jobe, Preston Adami and Ransdell hadn’t been as dominant as the Lakeside duo (particularly Slaton who worked the first seven innings) but they’d been just as effective as they combined for the nine-inning shutout. Though they’d scattered 10 hits, they surrendered just one walk and twice Lakeside runners were thrown out at the plate.
The win gave the Sox a 2-1 mark entering tournament play in Benton on Friday, May 25.
Against Lakeside, the Sox had runners on base in each of the first four innings. In the opening frame, Ryan McKnight reached on an error and Jobe walked but Slaton struck out the next two to get out of the inning. Blankenship reached on a miscue in the second but was doubled off first when Jeremy Beadle popped out on a hit-and-run.
The best opportunity to score came in the third when Austin Queck led off with a bad-hop single past third and, with one out, Jeremy Burge walked. With two down, Michael Haydon was hit by a pitch to load the bags but Slaton got Ransdell to bounce into a force to end the threat.
In the fourth, Blankenship got to second on a wild throw to first on his grounder to third but, after that, Slaton retired 12 in a row before giving way to Ritter in the eighth. Ritter set down the first four he faced before Ransdell’s ninth-inning double.
Jobe, meanwhile, allowed just two hits over the first four innings, a one-out single in the second and a two-out infield hit in the third. Adami relieved in the fifth and retired the first five he faced before giving up a single in the sixth.
In the seventh, Adami struck out Mitchell Scott but surrendered a single to Zach Dickey. He got Carlos Gallegos to tap one back to the mound resulting in a force at second.
But when Nick Merriweather singled, Ransdell came on in relief only to have Ryan Montgomery greet him with a single to center. Blankenship charged the ball and fired home to Queck who tagged out Gallegos to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
Lakeside made noise again in the top of the eighth. A one-out double by Andrew Godwin was followed by a single to left by Slaton that was hit too hard for Godwin to score. But when Ritter followed with a tap to the right of the mound, Godwin broke for the plate. Ransdell bounced off the bump, fielded the ball and threw home in time to nail him and the game stayed scoreless.
Scott managed an infield hit after that to load the bases but Ransdell got Dickey to ground to Tyler Sawyer at third for an inning-ending force out.
In the top of the ninth, Ransdell struck out the side around a two-out single by Ben English to set up the game-winning rally in the bottom half.