By Rob Patrick
In 12 innings — a seven-inning opener and a five-inning nightcap — the Bryant Sport Shop Black[more] Sox AA American Legion team combined to steal a whopping 17 bases Tuesday night against the North Little Rock Colts. Combined with 19 hits over the two contests and stingy pitching after the first inning of the firth game, the Sox swept the twinbill, 8-5 and 10-2, bouncing back from consecutive losses.
Justin Emmerling tossed a one-hitter in the five-inning second contest and C.J. Phillips went 3 for 3. In the opener, Dakota Besancon struggled early but hit his stride after that and, combined with relief help from Tre Davis and Hunter Oglesby, held the Colts while the Black Sox rallied for the win.
The wins evened the Bryant record at 4-4 going into Friday’s doubleheader against Hot Springs Village at Bryant High School Field.
Oglesby wound up going 4 for 4 over the two games with Emmerling finishing with four hits in five at bats.
On the mound, Emmerling faced the minimum over the first three innings of the second contest, fanning five of the nine batters he faced. The lone Colts base-runner came on an error but Emmerling got the next batter to bounce back to the mound. He started an inning-ending doubleplay.
The right-hander issued his lone walk to start the fourth then a pair of errors extended the inning as North Little Rock got on the board. The lone Colts hit was a single through the left side of the infield by Lawson Dulin. That loaded the bases for Benny Ralston, who bounced into a force at third as a second run scored. Emmerling hit Ben Parner with a pitch but then retired Blaine Miller and Reed Shepard to end the inning.
The Sox had built a 7-0 lead by that time. They got two in the first. Phillips singled but was forced at second on a grounder by Besancon. After Besancon swiped second, Emmerling singled him to third. Oglesby got down in the count 0-2 but swatted a drive into the right-field corner to drive in both runners.
In the second, Ralston, the North Little Rock starter, set down the first two batters before Weston Jones burned the centerfielder for a triple. Nick Kehrees came through with an RBI single and, after Phillips cracked his second hit, Ralston gave way to J.J. Askins on the mound. With runners at first and third, Phillips stole second to get into scoring position. Besancon hit a bouncer to short. The ball was misplayed and both Kehrees and Phillips sprinted home to make it 5-0.
Oglesby beat out an infield hit to start the third. Bradley Plunkett pulled a single into left and the Sox had runners at the corners again. Oglesby scored when Daniel Darbonne hit a tapper between the mound and the plate.
With Devon Fuquay at the plate, Plunkett swiped second and scored on an errant throw. Fuquay singled but was stranded.
After North Little Rock got its two in the top of the fourth, the Sox trumped that with three more. Phillips lined his third hit up the middle and swiped his second base of the game. Caleb Chaffin lashed a single to left then tried to get into a rundown between first and second to give Phillips a chance to score. But Askins chose to make sure Phillips held at third as Chaffin stepped to second. Moments later, Emmerling drilled a single to center to drive both home, making it 9-2.
Emmerling stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Chase Brooks’ groundout.
In the fifth, the Sox hurler needed just 10 pitches to finish off the victory.
Eleven of Bryant’s steals came in the first game with Emmerling and Darbonne getting three apiece. But it was an uphill effort after the Colts struck for four runs in the opening inning. Jordan Reed walked, Askins beat out an infield hit and, with one out, Dulin singled to load the bases. Ralston shot a single to center that hit in front of Fuquay who was charging in. The ball took a bad hop and got by him. Ralston wound up at second and three runs scored on the play. A balk allowed Ralston to score later in the inning.
After that, however, Besancon held the Colts to one run and four hits over the next four frames.
The Black Sox started whittling on the lead in the bottom of the first when Phillips walked, swiped second, took third on a groundout by Besancon and scored on a sacrifice fly by Emmerling.
In the third, North Little Rock added a run on a double by Askins, a bunt hit by Ben Bailey and a passed ball. A walk and a sacrifice had runners at second and third with two down but Besancon struck out Addison Burks to keep it 5-1.
And the Sox trimmed the lead to 5-3 with more aggressive base-running in the bottom of the frame. Phillips got it started with a triple to the gap in right-center. He scored on Besancon’s grounder to second. Emmerling got things rolling again with a solid single to left. He stole second then third as Oglesby worked a walk. And when Oglesby stole second, drawing a throw that wasn’t handled cleanly, Emmerling raced home.
After a pitching change, Plunkett reached on an error and added a steal. Darbonne followed with a shot to left that hung up long enough for North Little Rock’s Chance Harger to flag it down to end the inning.
Besancon and the Sox got a lift in the top of the fourth after a one-out walk to Harger. Reed slapped a single to right that Brooks charged and scooped up. Harger tried to take third on the play but Brooks gunned a throw to Emmerling at third and the ball was waiting on Harger.
And in the bottom of the inning, Bryant surged into the lead with the help of four North Little Rock miscues. Fuquay knocked a single off the ankle of the pitcher and when the subsequent throw to first was wild, he took second. He stole third but remained there with two out.
Phillips flew to right but the ball was dropped and Fuquay scored to make it 5-4.
Phillips wound up at second on that play and, he took third when Besancon reached on another error. After Besancon swiped second and Emmerling was hit by a pitch to load the bags, an errant pickoff throw to third allowed both Phillips and Besancon to score. Emmerling wound up on third then Oglesby plugged the gap in right-center for an RBI triple to make it 7-5.
Besancon eased through the top of the fifth, pitching around a one-out single by Ralston. Davis took over in the sixth and overcame a third-strike wild pitch that allowed Harger to reach and a single by Reed. Emmerling made a nice play on Askins’ grounder to third, firing a throw to the plate where Phillips applied the tag on Harger, who failed to slide. Oglesby then made a splendid play at first on a sharply hit grounder that took a bad hop right at the end.
Bryant added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth against Reed, the third North Little Rock pitcher. Kehrees singled and took second when the throw back into the infield got away. He moved to third as Phillips grounded out to short and, after Besancon was struck by a pitch, Emmerling beat out in infield hit to get Kehrees home.
Despite an error in the top of the seventh, Oglesby set down the Colts with the help of a doubleplay started by Kehrees at short, making amends for the boot. Andrew Kincaid made a nice stretch at first to secure the final out.
BRYANT SPORT SHOP 8-10, NORTH LITTLE ROCK 5-2
Colts ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Reed, ss-p 2 1 2 0 Phillips, c 3 3 1 0
Askins, cf 3 2 2 0 Besancon, p-rf 3 1 0 1
Bailey, c 4 0 1 0 Emmerling, 3b 2 2 2 2
Dulin, 3b 4 1 1 0 Oglesby, 1b-p 2 0 2 1
Ralston, 1b 3 1 2 2 Plunkett, lf 4 0 0 0
Parner, p 1 0 0 0 Darbonne, 2b 2 0 0 0
Shepard, p-ss 2 0 0 0 Fuquay, cf 3 1 1 0
Burks, rf 3 0 0 0 Brooks, rf 3 0 0 0
Miller, 2b 3 0 0 0 Davis, p 0 0 0 0
Harger, lf 2 0 0 0 Kincaid, 1b 0 0 0 0
Kehrees, ss 3 1 1 0
Totals 27 5 8 2 Totals 25 8 7 4
NLR 401 000 0 — 5
BRYANT 102 401 x — 8
E—Fuqay, Kehrees 2, Reed, Shepard, Burks, Bailey, Dulin, Harger. DP—Bryant 1. LOB—North Little Rock 7, Bryant 7. 3B—Phillips, Oglesby. SB—Phillips, Darbonne 3, Emmerling 3, Oglesby, Plunkett, Fuquay, Besancon. S—Reed, Parner. SF—Emmerling.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
North Little Rock
Parner 2.2 3 2 3 3 0
Shepard (L) 1 4 0 2 0 2
Reed 2.1 1 1 2 1 2
Besancon (W) 5 5 3 6 2 3
Davis 1 0 0 1 0 1
Oglesby (S) 1 0 0 0 0 0
Balk—Besancon. HBP—Askins (by Besancon), Emmerling (by Shepard), Besancon, Oglesby (by Reed). WP—Davis. PB—Phillips 2.
Colts ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Reed, ss 2 1 0 0 Phillips, c 3 2 3 0
Askins, cf-p 3 1 0 0 Besancon, rf 2 1 0 0
Bailey, lf 2 0 0 1 Chaffin, rf 1 1 1 0
Dulin, 3b-cf-p 2 0 1 0 Emmerling, p 3 2 2 2
Ralston, p-3b 2 0 0 1 Oglesby, 1b 2 1 2 2
Parner, 1b 1 0 0 0 Long, 1b 1 0 0 0
Miller, 2b 2 0 0 0 Plunkett, lf 2 1 1 0
Shepard, c 2 0 0 0 Brooks, lf 1 0 0 1
Burks, rf 2 0 0 0 Darbonne, 2b 2 0 0 1
Kincaid, 2b 1 0 0 0
Fuquay, cf 2 0 1 0
Davis, cf 0 0 0 0
Jones, 3b 2 1 1 0
Kehrees, ss 2 1 1 1
Totals 18 2 1 2 Totals 24 10 12 7
NLR 000 20 — 2
BRYANT 232 3x — 10
E—Besancon, Reed, Askins, Shepard, Kehrees, Oglesby. DP—Bryant 1. LOB—North Little Rock 3, Bryant 2. 2B—Oglesby. 3B—Jones. SB—Besancon, Phillips 2, Chaffin, Emmerling.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
North Little Rock
Ralston (L) 1.2 5 3 6 0 1
Askins 1.2 5 5 6 0 1
Dulin 0.2 0 0 0 0 1
Emmerling (W) 5 2 0 1 1 6
HBP—Parner (by Emmerling). WP—Askins.