By Rob Patrick
RUSSELLVILLE — After a 16-1 romp in the first game of their doubleheader with the[more] Russellville Senior American Legion team Friday night, the Bryant Black Sox Senior team was challenged in the second contest.
But thanks to a spectacular catch in left-center by Marcus Wilson to save at least one run, probably two, and splendid pitching after a rough start by Hayden Daniel and relievers Devin Dupree and Tyler Nelson, the Sox held a 4-2 lead through six innings. In the seventh, Cody Gogus launched a three-run bomb to highlight a game-breaking four-run outburst. The Sox finished the sweep with an 8-3 win to improve to 5-0 on the season.
Gogus and Chase Tucker each had two hits for the Sox in the nightcap.
In the run-rule win in the opener, Hayden Lessenberry and Wilson each drove in three runs as the Sox took advantage of nine walks and five errors with 10 hits to post their third win by a double-digit margin this season. Nate Rutherford blanked Russellville on three hits through four innings. In the fifth, a run scored on a three hits before the Sox ended it with their third doubleplay of the game.
The games were played at Arkansas Tech University.
The Senior Sox return to action Monday at 7 p.m., with a Zone 4 game at Sheridan.
In Friday’s nightcap, Bryant had edged ahead 3-2 going into the bottom of the fourth. Dupree, on in relief of Daniel, retired the first two and appeared to have the next batter, Cody Underhill, struck out but a border-line pitch when Russellville’s way and a walk resulted instead. Andrew Elam followed with a single to center that sent Underhill to third.
That brought up Jacob Barker who pounded 1-1 delivery that appeared to be headed to the way in left-center. But Wilson, an Arkansas Tech signee, sprinted into the gap and made a diving “Baseball Tonight Web Gem” grab off the top of the grass to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Tucker singled up the middle, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out, bloop single to center by Gogus, extending the margin to two runs.
Dupree worked around a two-out error in the bottom of the fifth then retired the first two of the sixth before Underhill and Elam singled. Nelson, inserted in the closer's role when Tryce Schalchlin tweaked a quad running to first in the opener, got Barker to roll one to Gogus at first to end the threat.
Austin Caldwell beat out an infield hit to start the top of the seventh. On a hit-and-run, Hayden Lessenberry shot a single through the hole on the right side and Caldwell cruised into third. Lessenberry swiped second before, on a 2-1 delivery, Gogus unloaded, powering his homer over the boards in left.
Matt Sims became the third Russellville pitcher of the game at that point and issued a one-out walk to Trevor Ezell. Again manager Darren Hurt put on the hit-and-run. This time, Ozzie Hurt got the ball on the ground hard to the right side only to have first baseman Parker Thompson, ranging far to his right, field the ball. But his throw toward Sims who was trying to cover first, was wide. The speedy Ezell reached third and when homeplate was left unoccupied with the Russellville catcher chasing down the errant throw, he scored to make it 8-2.
Russellville didn’t go quietly as they loaded the bases on a double by Luke Price, a walk to Jordan Barnes and a bloop single by Jordan Haas. Nelson induced a pop to shallow right that wasn’t deep enough to score the run but the next batter, Thompson, produced a sacrifice fly to deep center to make it 8-3.
Hayden Timmerman bounced back to Nelson for the final out.
Russellville had grabbed its first lead of the night with two runs in the opening inning. Barnes doubled and Haas reached when his sacrifice bunt was misplayed. Thompson picked up the RBI with a grounder to the right side then Corey Hottinger doubled in the second run.
Right-hander Dalton Stacy of Pottsville gave up an unearned run in the top of the second. With one out, Caldwell reached second on an errant throw. He took third on a wild pitch as Zach Graddy drew a walk. Trying the now illegal third-to-first pickoff move, Stacy was cited for a balk that allowed Caldwell to score.
Walks to Gogus and Ezell loaded the bases but the Sox were denied any more scoring in the inning.
Daniel eased through the second after a lead-off walk to Elam. He would work a 1-2-3 third after the Sox had taken the lead.
Bryant’s third started with a walk to Nelson. Wilson plugged the gap in deep right-center for a triple bringing Nelson around with the tying tally. Tucker then got a bunt down that not only got Wilson home but went for a base hit.
In the first game, Bryant built a 5-0 lead then scored 11 runs in the fourth to blow the game up. Ezell opened up the game with a walk off Russellville right-hander Ethan Farnam of Dardanelle. A wild pitch and a stolen base got him to third then Nelson picked up the RBI with a sacrifice fly.
Rutherford pitched a round a one-out hit batsman in the bottom of the inning then the Sox went back to work on offense, but not until after Farnam struck out the first two batters in the inning. Walks to Caldwell and Korey Thompson set the stage for a two-run uprising. The duo worked a double-steal and when a throw to third was errant, Caldwell scampered home. Ezell then doubled in Thompson.
Rutherford surrendered a two-out single to Elam in the bottom of the second and, in the top of the third, the Sox tacked on two more and chased Farnam. Nelson singled, Lessenberry walked and, after a double steal, Daniel drilled a two-run double.
Haas relieved and got out of the inning but he would have a nightmare fourth.
In the bottom of the third, Ozzie Hurt turned in a pair of splendid defensive plays. First, he chased down a bloop to shallow left center off Barker’s bat. Barnes then walked and raced to third shen Haas’ sacrifice bunt drew a throw to first that was into the runner. Nelson made the catch but Haas ran into his arm. The glove and the ball were knocked away and Russellville had runners at the corners with one out. Sims followed with a sinking liner that Hurt speared with a diving effort, bounced to his feet and fired to first to double off Haas, ending the inning.
Again walks led to Bryant runs in the top of the fourth. Korey Thompson and Ezell drew the first two passes. Hurt then sacrificed them to second and third. Nelson hit a grounder to first where Barker fielded the ball and decided to try to catch Thompson off of third. But when he slid in safely around a tag, the Sox suddenly had the bases loaded with one out. Lessenberry yanked a one-hop shot off the glove of Underhill at short, who could only try to back-hand the ball with a lunging effort. The resulting base hit knocked in a pair.
Wilson singled in Nelson then Daniel reached on an error as Lessenberry held at third. Once again, the Sox had the bags full. Gogus plated a run with a sacrifice fly then Caldwell and Korey Thompson drilled RBI singles to make it 11-0.
Ezell beat out an infield hit to fill the sacks again for Hurt, who shot a single to right-center for a pair of ribbies. When Haas walked Nelson to load the bases again, a change was made. Lefty Ben Wilkins came on but fared little better. He walked Lessenberry to force in a run then gave up a two-run single to Wilson to cap the inning.
Hottinger and Mitch Mullen each singled with one out in the bottom of the fourth but Ezell made a sparkling play at third to start and inning-ending doubleplay, sending it to the fifth.
Again the Hornets filled the pillows. Tucker reached on a throwing error and Gogus walked. Mullen relieved Wilkins and got a force at third on a comebacker but Korey Thompson reached on an error to load them up before Mullen started a 1-2-3 doubleplay to send it to the home fifth.
BRYANT 16-8, RUSSELLVILLE 1-3
Black Sox ab r h bi Russellville ab r h bi
Ezell, 3b 3 3 2 1 Barnes, cf 2 0 1 0
Hurt, ss 3 1 1 2 Haas, rf-p 1 0 0 0
Nelson, 1b 2 3 1 1 Wilkins, p 0 0 0 0
Lessenberry, c 2 2 1 3 Timmerman, ph 1 0 0 0
Graddy, c 0 0 0 0 Hawkins, 2b 0 0 0 0
Wilson, lf 4 1 2 3 Sims, 3b 3 0 0 0
Daniel, cf 3 1 1 2 P.Thompson, dh 1 0 0 0
Tucker, cf 1 0 0 0 Price, rf 1 0 0 0
Schalchlin, dh 2 0 0 0 Hottinger, c 2 0 1 0
Gogus, dh 0 0 0 1 Mullen, 2b-p 2 0 1 0
Caldwell, rf 3 2 1 1 Elam, lf 2 0 1 0
K.Thompson, 2b2 3 1 1 Underhill, ss 2 1 1 0
Rutherford, p 0 0 0 0 Barker, 1b 2 0 1 1
Farnam, p 0 0 0 0
Totals 25 16 10 15 Totals 19 1 6 1
BRYANT 122 (11)0 — 16
Russellville 000 01 — 1
E—Underhill 2, Hottinger, Rutherford, Sims, Mullen. DP—Bryant 3, Russellville 1. LOB—Bryant 6, Russellville 5. 2B—Ezell, Daniel. 3B—Underhill. SB—Ezell, Nelson, Lessenberry. S—Hurt. SF—Nelson, Gogus.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Rutherford (W) 5 1 1 6 1 0
Farnam, (L) 2.1 5 5 3 4 4
Haas 1.1 11 6 6 3 0
Wilkins 0.1 0 0 1 2 0
Mullen 1 0 0 0 0 0
Wilkins faced two batters in the fifth.
HBP—Haas (by Rutherford).
Black Sox ab r h bi Russellville ab r h bi
Ezell, 3b 3 1 1 0 Barnes, cf 3 1 1 0
Hurt, ss 5 0 1 0 Haas, rf 3 1 1 0
Nelson, dh-p 3 1 0 0 Mullen, 2b-p 3 0 0 0
Wilson, lf 4 1 1 1 Sims, p 1 0 0 0
Tucker, cf 4 1 2 1 P.Thompson, 1b 3 0 0 2
Caldwell, rf 4 2 1 0 Hottinger, dh 2 0 1 1
Graddy, c 1 0 0 0 Timmerman, 2b 2 0 0 0
Lessenberry, c 2 1 1 0 Underhill, ss 2 0 1 0
Gogus, 1b 3 1 2 4 Elam, c 2 0 2 0
K.Thompson, 2b 2 0 0 0 Barker, 3b 2 0 0 0
Daniel, p 0 0 0 0 Price, lf 3 1 1 0
Dupree, p 0 0 0 0 Stacy, p 0 0 0 0
Totals 31 8 9 6 Totals 26 3 7 3
BRYANT 012 010 4 — 8
Russellville 200 000 1 — 3
E—Daniel, Barker, Underhill, Hurt. LOB—Bryant 11, Russellville 8. 2B—Barnes, Hottinger, Price. 3B—Wilson. HR—Gogus. SB—Lessenberry, Haas, Elam. S—K.Thompson, Barker. SF—P.Thompson.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Daniel 3 2 1 2 1 3
Dupree (W) 2.2 0 0 3 1 0
Nelson (S) 1.1 1 1 2 1 0
Stacy (L) 4.2 4 3 5 5 1
Mullen 1.1 3 3 4 1 1
Sims 1 1 1 0 1 1
Mullen faced three batters in the seventh.
Balk—Stacy. HBP—Nelson (by Stacy). WP—Stacy 3.