By Rob Patrick
On June 10, after a lackluster performance in a 12-2 loss to one of the Cabot teams, manager[more] Seth Doxey and assistant coach Jordan Hunter had a little sitdown with their players on the Sport Shop Black Sox AA American Legion team. A first-year Legion coach who had served as a volunteer assistant for Kirk Bock on the Bryant Hornets high school team this spring, Doxey apparently got some issues ironed out because ever since then the Sox haven’t lost.
On Wednesday, Bryant Sport Shop ran its winning streak to seven straight by beating two different Saline County teams from Benton, improving to 9-4 overall this season going into Saturday’s game at home against Hot Springs Village at 6 p.m.
“They’re playing their hearts out and I’m proud of them,” Doxey said after the 11-5 win over Benton Everett and 10-3 win over Benton Sport Shop.
Bryant Sport Shop 11, Benton Everett 5
In the opener, Hunter Oglesby and Michael Martindale each had three hits highlighted by Oglesby’s three-run triple in a five-run third, which erased a 1-0 deficit. Martindale drove in two and stole four bases. Weston Jones also knocked in a pair.
Oglesby also picked up the win on the mound, going four innings and allowing one run on three hits. Caleb Chaffin, Devon Fuquay and Dakota Besancon closed it out.
In the nightcap, C.J. Phillips, who caught all seven innings of the opener, started on the mound and earned the win with relief help from Jonathan Long and Bradley Plunkett after running into trouble in the fourth inning of the five-inning contest.
Offensively, Phillips went 2 for 2. Justin Emmerling added two hits and the Sox scored seven times in the third inning.
Bryant stole 15 bases in the two games combined. Martindale added a pair of steals against Benton Sport Shop and Jones swiped three bags.
The only lead for either Benton team was the 1-0 advantage that Everett grabbed in the first inning of the night. With two down, Michael Higginbotham singled and scored all the way from first on a double by Logan Clay.
Oglesby settled in after that, working around an error and a single in the second with help from Emmerling at short, who grabbed a liner off the bat of Lucas Ward and completed an unassisted doubleplay by getting to the second-base bag before Benton’s Trent Smith could get back.
The Bryant right-hander worked a 1-2-3 third and pitched around a pair of walksin the fourth.
The Sox grabbed the lead in the third and Daniel Darbonne got it started. Though the second baseman’s batting average isn’t where he’d like it to be, he’s consistently reached base, leading the team in walks including three times in Thursday’s opener. In three at-bats against three different Benton Everett pitchers, he saw one strike after watching 11 balls and instigated both of Bryant’s five-run outbursts.
He walked on four straight to start the third and Besancon sacrificed him to second. After a pitching change, Phillips legged out an infield hit to deep short as Darbonne held at second. That brought up the heart of the Black Sox lineup and they produced. Emmerling singled to fill the sacks and, on the very next pitch, Oglesby smacked a drive of the head of the Benton centerfielder, clearing the bases. A pitch later, Martindale yanked a single into left to bring in Oglesby and it was 4-1.
With Jones at the plate, Martindale swiped second and third so when the Sox third baseman beat out an infield hit, it made it 5-1.
Chaffin relieved Oglesby in the fifth and retired the side in order. In the bottom of the inning, he added to the lead with a clutch two-out RBI single up the middle. Martindale scored on the play. He had singled up the middle and stolen two more bases.
Chaffin, in his first mound appearance of the season, retired the first two in the top of the sixth but a walk to Joe Reynolds extended the inning. In a battle with Smith, the right-hander came within a strike of getting out of the inning but his 3-2 pitch was slapped into the left-fielde corner for a double.
Dillon Pierce walked and D.J. Walker singled to get Reynolds home. Ward followed with a liner to right but Besancon sprinted in to make a fine catch to end the inning with Bryant holding onto a 6-2 edge.
It was a much more comfortable lead after the bottom of the sixth. Darbonne led off with his third free pass, advanced on a wild pitch and took third on Besancon’s solid single to left. After Besancon stole second, Phillips was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Emmerling. When he too was plunked, forcing in Darbonne, Benton brought on its fifth pitcher.
Oglesby greeted the Brunson Cornwell with a base hit to left that drove in two. And when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, Emmerling wound up at third and Oglesby at second. Martindale and Jones followed with sacrifice flies to make it 11-2.
Fuquay relieved in the seventh and surrendered a one-out triple to Colby Byrd. Higginbotham picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly then Everett was down to its last strike as Fuquay and Clay battled to a 3-2 count. A walk, however, was followed by a Reynolds single and a two-run double by Smith that made it 11-5.
Pierce was hit by a pitch so Besancon came in to pitch and needed just one to get the final out as Walker grounded to Darbonne at second for the force.
Bryant Sport Shop 10, Benton Sport Shop 3
Phillips pitched three shutout innings to start the game, working around a one-out single by Ward in the first, a two-out single by Jacob Jarrett in the second. Ward, who was 3 for 3 in the game, added another two-out single in the third and Jeffrey Storment doubled. But Phillips got Reynolds to bounce back to the mound to end the threat.
The Sox had established a 3-0 lead in the first. Phillips, who was on base all three times, walked and stole second then scored when Besancon cracked the first of Bryant’s four triples in the game. And when the relay was mishandled, he too came in to score.
Emmerling reached on the second Benton error of the inning and, with two down, Jones ripped a triple to chase him home.
The blow-out third got going when Emmerling legged out an infield hit on a slow bouncer to short. Oglesby smacked a liner to right that took a bad hop over the head of Jarrett and rolled to the wall for yet another triple. Martindale singled him in then stole his fifth and sixth bases of the evening.
Jones walked on four pitches and stole second setting the stage for Long and Fuquay to pick up RBIs on groundouts.
An error allowing Darbonne to reach extended the inning back around to Phillips who ripped an RBI double to right-center forcing a pitching change. Right-hander Ethan Hendrix and his Benton teammates appeared to be out of the inning when Besancon skied to center but the ball was misplayed. Phillips sprinted home and Besancon wound up at third with Emmerling back up again.
With another drive to center, Emmerling’s ball landed beyond the reach of the outfield resulting in another triple. And with a chance for an inside-the-park homer, Doxey sent him from third but Benton was good on the relay and he was out at the plate ending the inning.
Phillips ran out of steam in the fourth, hitting Hendrix and walking Brandyn Wilcox. Long took over on the mound and issued a walk to Jarrett. Gene Vocque followed with a grounder to second that looked like it might turn into a doubleplay. But Darbonne’s toss to Phillips (now at shortstop) was high and wide and Jarrett was safe. Phillips, however, got to the ball and relayed to first in time to retire Vocque as Hendrix scored.
A walk to Austin Sheridan loaded the bases again but Long struck out Peyton Like. Ward, however, slapped a single to right drive in two and the final score was on the board. Long got Storment to fly to right to end the inning.
In the fifth, Plunkett hit a batter and issued a walk but ended it with a strikeout.
BRYANT SPORT SHOP 11, BENTON EVERETT 5
Everett ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Cornwell, 2b-ss-p 4 0 0 0 Besancon, rf-p 3 1 1 0
Byrd, cf-2b 4 1 1 1 Phillips, c 3 2 1 0
Higginbotham, ss-p 3 1 1 1 Emmerling, ss 2 2 1 1
Clay, 1b-cf-3b 3 1 1 1 Oglesby, p-1b 4 2 3 5
Hamilton, 3b 1 0 0 0 Martindale, cf 3 2 3 2
Reynolds, 3b-p 1 2 1 0 Jones, 3b 3 0 1 2
Smith, p-1b-rf-c 3 0 2 2 Kincaid, 1b 2 0 0 0
Pierce, c-rf 2 0 0 0 Chaffin, p 2 0 1 1
Walker, rf-p-cf 4 0 2 1 Fuquay, p-rf 0 0 0 0
Allred, lf 0 0 0 0 Plunkett, lf 3 0 0 0
Ward, lf 3 0 0 0 Darbonne, 2b 0 2 0 0
Totals 28 5 8 5 Totals 25 11 11 11
Benton 100 001 3 — 5
BRYANT 005 015 x — 11
E—Darbonne, Reynolds, Ward. DP—Bryant 1. LOB—Benton 9, Bryant 5. 2B—Clay. 3B—Oglesby. SB—Emmerling, Martindale 4, Jones, Darbonne, Besancon. S—Besancon. SF—Martindale, Jones, Higginbotham.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Smith (L) 2.1 1 1 2 2 0
Higginbotham 0.2 4 4 5 0 0
Reynolds 1 0 0 1 0 0
Walker 1 5 5 3 1 1
Cornwell 1 1 0 1 0 0
Oglesby (W) 4 1 1 3 2 3
Chaffin 2 1 1 2 2 0
Fuquay 0.2 3 3 3 1 0
Besancon 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
HBP—Phillips, Emmerling (by Walker), Pierce (by Fuquay). WP—Walker.
BRYANT SPORT SHOP 10, BENTON SPORT SHOP 3
Benton ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Like, 2b 3 0 0 0 Phillips, p-ss 2 2 2 1
Ward, cf 3 0 3 2 Besancon, c 3 2 1 1
Storment, c 3 0 1 0 Emmerling, ss-1b 3 2 2 1
Reynolds, 3b 3 0 0 0 Kincaid, 1b 0 0 0 0
Hendrix, ss-p 1 1 0 0 Oglesby, rf 2 1 1 1
Wilcox, 1b 2 1 0 0 Chaffin, rf 1 0 0 0
Jarrett, rf 1 1 1 0 Martindale, cf 3 1 1 1
Vocque, lf 3 0 0 1 Jones, 3b 1 1 1 1
Sheridan, p-ss 1 0 0 0 Long, 1b-p 0 0 0 0
Plunkett, ph-p 0 0 0 0
Fuquay, lf 2 0 0 1
Brooks, ph-lf 1 0 0 0
Darbonne, 2b 2 1 0 0
Totals 20 3 5 3 Totals 22 10 8 8
Benton 000 30 — 3
BRYANT 307 0x — 10
E—Like, Reynolds,Ward, Hendrix, Darbonne. LOB—Benton 8, Bryant 4. 2B—Storment, Phillips. 3B—Besancon, Jones 3, Oglesby, Emmerling. SB—Phillips, Emmerling, Jarrett, Martindale 2, Sheridan, Ward.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Sheridan (L) 2.2 9 3 7 2 2
Hendrix 1.1 1 0 1 1 2
Phillips (W) 3 2 1 4 1 4
Long 1 1 0 1 2 1
Plunkett 1 0 0 0 1 1
HPB—Hendrix 2 (by Phillips, Plunkett), Jones (by Hendrix). WP—Long.