Black Sox Junior team romps in Zone tourney opener
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
SHERIDAN — During the regular season, the Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion team overwhelmed[more] the Little Rock Continental Express Junior team, 23-3 in four innings.
So, when they drew the Express in their first game at the Zone 4 tournament on Sunday, there was reason to believe it was going to be easy for the Sox.
Still, funny things happen in the post-season. Teams that struggled during the regular season sometimes jump up to take advantage of the second chance. With Continental getting a pair of players back that weren’t available for that first meeting and gaining a walk-over on their play-in game when Hot Springs Boys Club forfeited, there was no certainty going in.
And, in fact, while awaiting the start of their game, the Sox saw a prime example of what can happen when Little Rock Post 1 Blue stunned top-seeded Texarkana, 7-6.
But any doubt was dismissed early as the first five Sox batters walked, starting a seven-run first. Bryant went on to a 17-3 win in five innings to move within a win of being one of the three teams from Zone 4 to advance to the Junior State Tournament, which will be played in Sheridan as well, starting this weekend.
The Sox are set to meet Lake Hamilton on Monday at 1:30 p.m., for a spot in the winners bracket final, set for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The loser will have to turn around and play an elimination game on Monday afternoon at 4.
Bryant took advantage of 10 walks and a hit batsman with 11 hits on Sunday. The bottom third of the batting order accounted for six of those hits, two each by Zach Graddy, Trevor Ezell and Daniel Richards.
Tyler Green, Korey Thompson, Cody Gogus, Marcus Wilson and Chase Tucker drew those game-opening walks. An out later, Graddy looped a single over third to make it 4-0. Ezell hit a sharp bouncer to third and, with the infield in, Continental’s Will Kidd fielded the ball and threw home to try to get a force. But the throw was wild and both Wilson and Tucker scored.
Richards blooped an RBI single to center and Green made it 7-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Bryant starter Austin Caldwell appeared to be on his way to an easy inning in the bottom half but a two-out error extended the frame. Garrett Olmstead doubled in Ben Gipson to get the Express on the board. Kidd singled but Caldwell got Will Wright to groundout to third to end the threat.
Gipson relieved Express starter Dylan Fryar in the second and hit Gogus with his first pitch. Wilson beat out an infield hit then Tucker bunted for a single to load the bags. A walk to Blain Jackson made it 8-1. Wilson scored when Graddy grounded into a doubleplay.
With Tucker at third, Ezell got a perfect bunt down and beat it out for an RBI single. He then scored all the way from first on Richards’ looper to center that was misplayed.
Trailing 11-1, Continental gamely posted two runs in the bottom of the inning. Jacob White walked and Payton White singled. A base hit by Ryan Penyard was misplayed in left and both Whites scored. Panyard who took second on the play, eased into third on a wild pitch as Fryar walked.
Jackson relieved for Bryant and forced Little Rock to strand runners at second and third by retiring the next three batters.
Kidd, who had relieved and recorded the final out of the second, began to struggle in the third, walking Gogus, Wilson and Tucker with a wild pitch allowing Gogus to score. After Tucker stole second, Jackson knocked in two with a single up the middle.
Graddy dumped a single in behind second then Ezell shot one to center that Fryar raced back and couldn’t haul in. With the runners tagging up on the play, it resulted in a bases-loaded situation. With one out, Green chopped one to short that Conley Culpepper charged and short-hopped nicely. But his throw was off target and went into the dugout area. Jackson and Graddy scored.
A walk to Thompson loaded the bags and Culpepper became the fourth Express hurler. He got Tryce Schalchlin to ground into a force at second but Ezell scored the 17th run on the play.
Jackson pitched around one-out singles by Wright and Jacob White in the third. Zach Cambron relieved in the fourth and pitched two scoreless innings without giving up a hit.
The win improved the Sox to 14-3-1 on the season.
BRYANT 17, LR CONTINENTAL EXPRESS 3
Junior American Legion
Black Sox ab r h bi Continental Express ab r h bi
Green, cf-1b 3 1 1 2 Fryar, p-cf 1 0 0 0
Thompson, 2b 2 1 0 0 Culpepper, 2b-ss-p 3 0 0 0
Gogus, 3b 0 3 0 0 Gipson, ss-p 1 1 0 0
Schalchlin, ss 1 0 0 1 Wagner, lf 2 0 0 0
Wilson, lf-cf 2 3 1 1 Olmstead, cf-rf 2 0 1 1
Tucker, rf-lf 2 3 1 1 Kidd, 3b-p 3 0 1 0
Jackson, dh-p 2 1 1 3 Wright, c 2 0 1 0
Cambron, p 1 0 1 0 J.White, rf-2b 2 1 1 0
Graddy, c 3 2 2 1 P.White, 1b 3 1 1 0
Phillips, c 1 0 0 0 Panyard, lf-3b-ss 2 0 1 0
Matthews, rf 1 0 0 0
Richards, 1b-3b 4 0 2 2
Caldwell, p 0 0 0 0
Totals 25 17 11 12 Totals 21 3 6 1
BRYANT 746 00 — 17
Little Rock 120 00 — 3
E—Kidd, Richards, Wilson, Culpepper. DP—Little Rock Continental 2. LOB—Bryant 6, Little Rock Continental 8. SB—Green 2, Thompson, Richards, Fryar 2, Wilson, Tucker. SF—Green.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Caldwell 1 3 1 4 2 0
Jackson (W) 2 0 0 2 0 1
Cambron 2 0 0 0 3 2
Little Rock Continental Express
Fryar (L) 1 7 4 2 5 0
Gipson 0.2 4 4 5 1 0
Kidd 0.2 6 4 3 4 0
Culpepper 2.1 0 0 1 0 0
Caldwell faced four batters in the second.
HBP—Gogus (by Gipson). WP—Kidd 3.