Davidson fans 17, stops Fayetteville
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting 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
MOUNTAIN HOME — Throwing his fastball harder and hit breaking ball with more snap at the end than he had all game, despite finishing with over 150 pitches, Aaron Davidson struck out 17 batters and made an early 6-0 lead hold up as the Bryant Black Sox knocked off the favored Fayetteville Lindsey & Associates Dodgers, 6-3, in the second round of the AAA State American Legion Tournament at Cooper Park on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Davidson struck out the last seven batters he faced and eight of the last nine to close out the game with an impressive flurry, a day after getting the final out and the subsequent win in the Sox’ 15-14 comeback victory over Jonesboro in the opener of the tournament.
“He felt it,” stated Sox manager Craig Harrison. “He’s a competitor and when a guy feels it and sees the end and knows that he can get there — he wanted it.
“I wanted to pull him,” Harrison acknowledged. “He threw too many pitches. I’ve never had a guy go that far but he was still throwing free and easy, his arm was loose, he wasn’t laboring. If he’d have been just barely getting guys out and they were hitting bullets — but, I mean, he struck out the last seven of the game. I couldn’t walk out there and grab a guy that’s throwing like he was.”
“I was more tired towards the middle of the game,” Davidson related. “As it kept going, I kept getting more and more adrenaline going. It was my defense, our offense and the fans that kept me going.
“My arm feels great,” he added, admitting that he’d never thrown that many pitches in a game.
Davidson stole the limelight from Fayetteville lefty Chase Huchingson who had led his high school team to consecutive State championships, earned a Division I college offer (Arizona State) and was selected in the June Major League draft (Texas Rangers, 34th round). In fact, the Dodgers’ ace couldn’t get through three innings, giving up all six Bryant runs on five hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.
In the first, Joey Winiecki greeted Huchingson with a single and Jake Jackson worked for a walk. Winiecki was forced at third on a grounder to short by Davidson but, with two down, a pair of wild pitches allowed Jackson to score as Ryan Wilson drew a walk then Jordan Knight lashed a single to right center to make it 2-0.
In the third, Davidson singled to right with one down and Devin Hurt followed in kind. Wilson’s single up the middle made it 3-0 and, after Knight was hit by a pitch, Huchingson walked Tyler Pickett to force in a run.
Grant Cosby came on to relieve for Fayetteville and got the second out of the inning before Trent Daniel came through with a clutch two-run double to make it 6-0.
“We went out there and got aggressive on him and he didn’t like it,” stated Harrison. “He didn’t like being hit. We said, hey, we’re going to be dirty by the end of the game. They’re not used to being dirty. It’s just a symbol of how we play and how they’re used to playing. Hey, we’re going to get down and eat dirt if we have to. And they’re not used to that. It shook them early. But that’s how we play. It’s how we have to play and I’m proud of my team.”
Davidson harkened back to his team’s 5-0 loss to Fayetteville during the first couple of weeks of the season. Similarly, Bryant had lost to league-rival Pine Bluff then later in the season with Davidson throwing a shutout, beat them 1-0 in eight innings.
“Fayetteville beat us pretty bad when we played them at our place,” he recalled, “and, just like against Pine Bluff, I was ready to get that chip off my shoulder.”
The Dodgers finally broke through against Davidson in the fifth when Tim Carver walked, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored on a two-out hit by Huchingson.
In the seventh, Colton West led off with a walk and Jake Fuller got a liner down just inside the left-field line for a double. Huchingson’s sacrifice fly made it 6-2 then Davidson fanned Garrett Meyer. But a double by Taylor Shaddy drove in Fuller to trim the lead to 3.
That’s when Davidson began to dominate, finishing with his string of strikeouts.
Hurt finished with three hits for the Sox, Daniel had two doubles and Knight had two hits but the Sox couldn’t add to their lead against Cosby over the final six innings.