Photos courtesy of Paul Dotson
NEW ORLEANS — In a rain-delayed contest, the Bryant Black Sox rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning to grab a 4-2 lead on Thursday in the winners’ bracket of the 2017 Senior American Legion Mid-South Tournament.
Right-hander Aaron Orender and lefty Beaux Bonvillain made it hold up as the Sox advanced to the winners’ bracket final on Friday night around 7:30 against Ada, Okla., a 3-1 winner over Jefferson City, Mo., on Thursday.
Orender, who was named the Outstanding Pitcher, at the Arkansas State Tournament last week, didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. He set down the first nine batters he faced before surrendering a walk to lead off the fourth. His teammates turned a double play to erase that runnner as they preserved a 1-0 lead.
Pedal Valve broke through with a run in the fifth. A walk to Lyall Ball started the inning then a bunt from Mason Vicknair turned into the first Louisiana hit. And infield hit by Michael Toscane loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly from Andrew Morrow tied it.
A couple of force outs followed to end the inning but, in the sixth, LaPlace took the 2-1 lead on a double by Luke Lacoste, a bunt single from Austin Keller and a passed ball. Keller stole third but got no further as Orender struck out Justin Ory then induced a pair of harmless groundouts to keep it a one-run game.
The Sox’ rally in the bottom of the inning began with an error that allowed Jake East to reach safely. Seth Tucker swatted a single down the right-field line, sending East to third.
East held as Dylan Hurt sacrificed Tucker to second then Jake Wright drew a walk to fill the sacks for Alex Shurtleff. He ripped a two-run double to the gap in left-center and Bryant was back in front 3-2. Wright scored moments later on a wild pitch, adding some insurance.
Orender and the Sox defense retired Pedal Valve in order in the top of the seventh and, after Bryant loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning only to strand them, he retired the first batter of the eighth. Lacoste was then hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count and Orender gave way to Bonvillain.
Keller drew a walk but then Bonvillain struck out Ory and Ball to end the inning.
In the ninth, Vicknair led off with a double to put the lead in jeopardy. Morrow walked with one out but Bonvillain came back with a strikeout. The game ended when Zach Cook bounced out to Tucker at second.
Bryant’s first-inning run was a product of singles by Logan Allen and Dylan Hurt. Allen led off the game and stole second. With two away, Hurt cracked a single to center to bring Allen around.