By Rob Patrick
If the seedings hold at the Zone 4 AA American Legion tournament starting July 19, the Sport Shop[more] Black Sox and Hot Springs Village Sally’s Body Shop could be meeting each other for a third time with a bid to the AA State Tournament on the line. If that happens, it figures to be a corker of a game. That’s because both of the other meetings have been including Thursday night’s final home game of the season for the Bryant team.
Hot Springs Village, which edged the Sox 5-4, on June 29, rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to overcome a 4-3 deficit then held off a Bryant rally in the seventh for a 6-4 win.
The Sox, now 14-7 on the season, will wrap up the regular season at Texarkana, Texas on Sunday. They make their debut at the Zone tourney in Benton next Friday at 8 p.m., against the survivor of a play-in game between Ashdown and Gravette, which will be played earlier in the day. Hot Springs Village debuts that afternoon against Malvern.
Thursday’s game went back and forth. The Sox trailed 3-2 going into the bottom of the fifth and put together their own rally to take the lead. C.J. Phillips’ infield pop was dropped then Dakota Besancon drilled a 1-2 pitch toward the gap in right-center. HSV centerfielder Andrew Seamore sprinted over and got a glove on it but could hang on and Besancon had his third hit of the game.
Justin Emmerling followed with a bunt that went for a hit, loading the bases with no one out. Clean-up hitter Hunter Oglesby belted a liner but it was right at HSV shortstop Chase Anderson, who made the catch and fired to first to double off Emmerling.
That brought up Jonathan Long who had had an opportunity in the third inning with the bases loaded and two out but struck out. But baseball is all about second chances and when Long got his, he delivered, bouncing a single up the middle to drive in both Phillips and Besancon, giving Bryant a 4-3 lead.
Weston Jones followed with a base hit then Michael Martindale belted a liner that stayed up long enough for Seamore to make the catch to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Bryant reliever Nick Kehrees, who had pitched effectively after HSV took a 2-1 lead early, began to tire. He surrendered a lead-off single to Josh Mitchell but got the next batter, J.D. Simmons to bounce back to the mound. Kehrees fired to second for a force but Simmons beat the relay to first, which got past Long. But Phillips, the Bryant catcher, was hustling down the line to back-up the play and kept Simmons at first.
Jordan Morphard walked, however, then so did Seamore, loading the bases. Oglesby came in to pitch and Mason Chapmond greeted him with a sharp single to right to plate both two, putting HSV back up 5-4. A bad-hop single by Anderson drove in Seamore then a single by Briar Jackson had the bases loaded again.
But Oglesby got Tyler Robertson to line to Besancon at short and C.J. Williams to bounced into a force at second to keep it 6-4.
Devon Fuqua walked to open the bottom of the inning and reached second on a balk by Hot Springs Village reliever Mark Rucker. With one out, Phillips, who already had two hits, cracked a liner to left that looked like it might get over Simmons’ head and go to the wall. But the HSV outfielder reached up and robbed him of the hit and, moments later, Besancon bounced out to short to send it to the seventh.
Oglesby retired the Villagers in order in the top of the inning. In the home half, Emmerling made a bid for an extra-base hit only to have Seamore track his drive down. Oglesby beat out an infield hit and took second on a wild pitch to bring up the potential tying run.
But Rucker got the last two outs to save the victory for Chapmond the starter.
Earlier this season, Chapmond had pitched four innings of scoreless relief against the Bryant Senior Legion team but Sport Shop jumped on him early. Phillips and Besancon led off with hits and when Besancon left first early and got into a rundown, Phillips raced down the line and got in under a high throw to make it 1-0.
Tre Davis, the Bryant starter on the mound, kept the hard-swinging Villagers off the board in the first but, to start the second, he struggled with his control, walking the first three batters. Kehrees came in and got two out without giving up a run. But Chapmond, just as he would in the sixth, slapped a single to right to drive in two, giving his team the 2-1 lead.
The Sox tied it in the third. Fuqua singled and was sacrificed to second by Daniel Darbonne. Phillips laced a single to left then Besancon drove in the run with his second single. With two down, Oglesby walked to load the bases but Chapmond fanned Long to keep it 2-2.
Kehrees held HSV in the third and the fourth. In the third, he got some big-time help from Emmerling. With runners at second and third and one out, Mitchell hit a shot to Emmerling at short and he was able to double up the trail runner Williams to end the inning.
Kehrees set the Villagers down in order in the top of the fourth but Chapmond worked around a walk to Fuqua to send it to the fifth still even.
HSV took the lead when Anderson singled and, with two down, Robertson hit a liner to right-center that Martindale hustled over and cut off before it got to the fence. He uncorked a throw over the first cut-off man as Anderson rounded third and headed for home. Oglesby, coming over from third to back-up the cut-off man, bare-handed the ball on the first hop and flipped it back to Phillips, making the play closer at the plate than it looked like it would be.
Still, Robertson had put HSV ahead. But only momentarily as Bryant took back the advantage on Long’s clutch hit.
HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE SALLY'S BODY SHOP 6, BRYANT SPORT SHOP 4
Hot Springs Village ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Seamore, cf 3 1 0 0 Phillips, c 4 2 2 0
Chapmond, p-2b 3 0 2 4 Besancon, 2b-ss 4 1 3 1
Anderson, ss 4 1 2 1 Emmerling, ss-3b 4 0 1 0
Jackson, c 3 0 1 0 Oglesby, 3b-p 3 0 1 0
Robertson, 3b 4 0 1 1 Chaffin, 1b 1 0 0 0
Williams, 2b 3 1 1 0 Long, 1b 3 0 1 2
Rucker, p 0 0 0 0 Jones, rf 4 0 1 0
Mitchell, 1b 3 1 1 0 Martindale, cf 3 0 0 0
Simmons, lf 3 1 0 0 Fuqua, lf 1 1 1 1
Dauber, rf 2 0 0 0 Darbonne, dh 1 0 0 0
Morphard, rf 1 1 0 0 Kehrees, p-2b 1 0 0 0
Davis, p 0 0 0 0
Totals 29 6 8 6 Totals 29 4 10 3
HSV 020 013 0 — 6
BRYANT 101 020 0 — 4
E—Besancon, Chaffin, Fuqua, Williams. DP—Hot Springs Village 1, Bryant 1. LOB—Hot Springs Village 9, Bryant 8. SB—Chapmond. S—Darbonne.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Hot Springs Village
Chapmond (W) 5 4 2 9 2 5
Rucker (S) 2 0 0 1 1 0
Davis 1 2 2 0 5 0
Kehrees (L) 4.1 3 3 3 2 2
Oglesby 1.2 0 0 3 0 2
Balk—Rucker. WP—Kehrees, Rucker.