FORT SMITH — The Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team rallied for two runs in the top of the fifth inning to overcome the Fort Smith Sportsman’s 2-1 lead Wednesday night and relievers Aaron Orender and Boston Heil pitched shutout ball the rest of the game as the Sox prevailed 3-2.
In an earlier contest, the Black Sox Junior Legion team absorbed an 8-6 loss to the Fort Smith Junior squad.
In the Senior game, Orender, the third Bryant pitcher, blanked the Fort Smith team in the fifth and sixth innings then Heil worked a scoreless ninth for the save.
Sox manager Darren Hurt, preparing for a tournament in Fayetteville over the weekend, used four pitchers, none for more than two frames. Alex Shurtleff threw the first two and gave up a run on two hits. Myers Buck worked two frames and gave up a run on one hit with a walk. He earned the victory as the pitcher of record when the Sox rallied to take the lead.
Fort Smith managed just four hits in the contest.
The top of the fifth began with a walk to Matthew Sandidge who stole second. With one out, Jake East drilled a double to left to drive him home with the tying run.
Logan Allen followed with a liner to center. East tagged and made it to third and, from there, he scored on a squeeze play in which Dylan Hurt placed his bunt well enough to beat out a single along with the RBI.
Orender faced some trouble in the bottom of the fifth. Kinner Brasher greeted him with a single to left. Max Frazier moved him to third with a groundout to Seth Tucker at third. But an error followed allowing Daniel Demondesert to reach. But Brasher was unable to advance. Seth Key was hit by a 3-2 pitch, however, loading the bases with one out.
But Orender got Garrett Carter to line out to Scott Schmidt at second then induced a grounder to East at short off the bat of Brock Thibodeaux who tossed to Schmidt for a force to end the threat.
In the sixth, Orender cracked his second hit of the game. He advanced to second then third on a pair of wild pitches but was stranded.
Fort Smith was retired in order in the sixth then Heil worked around a two-out error with the help of Hurt, his catcher, who picked off the runner at first. The Sox executed a rundown and East tagged him out to end the game.
Fort Smith grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Shurtleff retired the first two batters but Thibodeaux singled and Jake Melton drew a walk. Ryan Reeves lined a single to center and Thibodeaux beat Allen’s throw to the plate. Shurtleff got Alex DeMato to line out to Tucker at third to force the Sportsman to strand runners at second and third.
Bryant tied it in the top of the third. Tucker cracked a one-out single to center and, with two down, he stole second then scored on Allen’s knock to left.
Buck pitched around a two-out miscue in the bottom of the inning. In the fourth, the Sox were unable to take advantage of Orender’s one-out single.
Fort Smith regained the upper hand in the bottom of the fourth when Carter lashed a triple and scored on an error.
Both Bryant teams are set to begin play in a Perfect Timing showcase today. The Juniors take on Millhouse at 1:30 p.m. at Arvest Stadium, home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals minor league team. Then the Senior Sox play Oklahoma Sandlot at 3 p.m., at Shiloh Christian High School.
Friday, the Junior Sox play at 9 a.m., against PT15 Blue at Prairie Grove High School and the Senior team takes on Prospects Perrin at 4:30 p.m., at Arvest.