By Rob Patrick
It’s not every day you see an inside-the-park grand slam or somebody going 5 for 5 or[more] a team scoring 10 runs in an inning or 23 in three, particularly at the American Legion level.
But all those things happened Friday night when the Everett Black Sox AA team of Bryant buried the Hot Springs Lakeside Rams Junior team, 23-0. Just six days before, Lakeside, playing at home, had edged the Sox 5-2 in the semifinals of the first Ryan White Memorial wood bat tournament.
To say the Sox avenged that loss might be an understatement.
On Friday, lefty Jason Hastings shut out the same Rams on two hits over five innings. Meanwhile Bo Ritter, the starter and winner in the previous meeting, couldn’t get out of that 10-run first, which included an inside-the-park slam by Trevor Ezell, who went 3 for 4 with six runs batter in. Hastings coupled his pitching performance with a 5-for-5 night at the plate. Wes Akers and Cody Gogus each had three hits and Chase Tucker two as part of a 19-hit barrage by the Sox. Gogus drove in four runs and C.J. Phillips knocked in three.
“We came out tonight focused up a little bit more than we were the last probably four or five ballgames,” noted Sox manager Jason Thompson. “We split the last time out with Clarksville and we still didn’t play very well. We had a little talk with them about getting back to basics and starting to focus up so we can finish the season on a strong note.
“We’ve got about four games left and we need to come out and make a statement, stay strong from here on out,” he continued. “And, man, did they. They came out looking for their pitch, not being overly aggressive but aggressive enough to take their pitch — the guy couldn’t get his off-speed over for a strike. When he threw a fastball, we just killed it. I couldn’t ask anything more from them one through 10. We hit the ball very well tonight.
“It was probably our best overall performance as a team in a couple of weeks,” he concluded.
With just 10 players available, Thompson and coach Jimmy Parker couldn’t really “call off the dogs.” But they did start advancing station to station during a nine-run third.
Hastings was sharp on the mound. He worked around a two-out error in the first and a lead-off single in the second. A two-out double by Austin Softley in the third led to nothing and neither did a one-out error in the fourth.
Bryant’s 10-run blitz to start the game was instigated by Ezell, who chopped a single over the third baseman’s head then stole second and third before Hastings cracked his first hit to drive him in.
Akers singled to right-center then Gogus pulled a hit into left to plate Hastings. Harrison Dale followed with a sacrifice bunt that Ritter got to but fumbled. It wasn’t much but it was enough for Dale to reach safely, loading the bases.
A passed ball allowed Akers to score as Korey Thompson drew a walk to fill the sacks again.
Ritter retired the next two but then hit Phillips with a pitch to force in the fourth run of the inning. Moments later, Ezell tied into a 2-1 delivery and drove to the fence in right-center. The speedy lead-off man rounded the bases scoring behind Dale, Thompson and Phillips to make it 8-0.
And the Sox were far from through. Hastings blooped his second hit of the inning and, after Akers drew a walk, Gogus ripped a drive to the fence in left-center to chase them both home.
Ritter, after throwing 50 pitches in the inning, gave way to Jonathan Barmore who finally got the third out.
The onslaught commenced once again in the second. Thompson singled to center and sprinted all the way home with Tucker tucked a liner into the corner in left for a double. He stole third and scored on Phillips’ grounder to short.
With two down, Ezell drew a walk and Hastings laced a shot into left-center for a triple to make it 13-0. Akers then came to the plate batting left-handed and promptly slapped an RBI single to left.
The nine-run third included seven of the Sox 19 hits in the game. Actually, Lakeside appeared to be getting through the inning with no damage. Thompson had drawn a one-out walk and Tucker singled but Austin Caldwell’s grounder to third resulted in a force for the second out.
The Rams appeared to be out of the inning when Phillips hit a grounder to short but an errant throw to first kept the inning going. Ezell, switching around to bat left-handed, came up once again with the bases full. This time, he slapped a two-run single to right.
Hastings and Akers followed with base hits from the left side then Gogus knocked in a run with a single as did Dale. And when Thompson’s grounder to second was kicked, Akers scored to make it 20-0.
Brandon Hall took over on the mound for the Rams. He hit Tucker with his first pitch, forcing in a run then walked Caldwell to plate another before Phillips’ single set the final score.
Now 19-5 this season, the Everett Sox go for number 20 at Lakeside on Monday against the Rams’ AA team, which lost Friday to Bryant’s Senior squad, 17-9.
BRYANT EVERETT BLACK SOX AA 23, HOT SPRINGS LAKESIDE RAMS JUNIOR 0
Rams ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Ritter, p-3b 2 0 0 0 Ezell, ss 4 4 3 6
Hall, 3b-p 1 0 0 0 Hastings, p 5 4 5 2
Softley, cf 2 0 1 0 Akers, 3b 4 3 3 2
Carleton, cf 0 0 0 0 Gogus, 1b 5 2 3 4
Lindsey, ss 2 0 0 0 Dale, lf 3 2 1 1
Willingham, c 2 0 0 0 Thompson, 2b 2 3 1 0
Hecke, 2b 2 0 1 0 Tucker, cf 3 2 2 2
Lopez, 2b 0 0 0 0 Dupree, rf 2 0 0 0
T.Crumpton, 1b 1 0 0 0 Caldwell, rf 1 1 0 1
Overton, 1b 1 0 0 0 Phillips, c 3 2 1 3
R.Crumpton, rf 1 0 0 0
Carpenter, rf 1 0 0 0
Barmore, 3b-p 2 0 0 0
Watson, lf 2 0 0 0
Totals 19 0 2 0 Totals 33 23 19 21
Lakeside 000 00 — 0
Bryant (10)49 0x — 23
E—Thompson, Ritter, Lindsey, Hecke, Akers. LOB—Lakeside 4, Bryant 6. 2B—Gogus, Tucker, Softley. 3B—Hastings. HR—Ezell. SB—Ezell 2, Tucker. S—Dale.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Ritter (L) 0.2 10 2 7 2 0
Barmore 2 13 4 10 2 1
Hall 1.1 0 0 2 1 1
Hastings (W) 5 0 0 2 0 6
HBP—Phillips (by Ritter), Tucker (by Hall). WP—Hastings. PB—Willingham, Phillips.