Bryant Junior team reaches championship game at Harrison
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, BryantDaily.com will be posting 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
HARRISON — The Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion team advanced to the championship game of the Harrison Invitational Tournament with[more] pool play wins over the host team and Rogersville, Mo., on Saturday.
The Sox, now 7-1 on the season, will play West Plains, Mo., for the tourney title today at 2:30 p.m.
On Saturday morning, the Sox took a commanding 11-5 lead with a five-run fifth then held off Harrison for an 11-9 win. Later in the day, the Sox fell behind the Rodgersville 19-and-under team 6-2 but starter Tryce Schalchlin settled in after the first two frames and shut out the Missouri team the rest of the way while Bryant surged to a 12-6 win.
“We kind of kicked it around a little bit this morning,” mentioned Sox manager Jimmy Parker. “A typical first game, even after being in a hotel the night before. But we did enough to get by.”
Regarding the second game, he praised Schalchlin.“He kept the ball down and kept it away from them,” Parker said of his hurler’s success after the first two frames. “He threw from then on without giving up a run. That was huge.
“We hit the ball well,” he added. “I mean, top to bottom, we hit it hard. We played against plus-pitching and we hit it hard.
“I’m happy with them,” Parker asserted. “They played hard and that’s all we can ask.”
Against Rogersville, the Black Sox took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. With one out, Trevor Ezell singled then Marcus Wilson and Cody Gogus laced back-to-back doubles.
In the bottom of the inning, however, the Missouri team plated three runs to take the lead. A pair of one-out singles resulted in Austin Caldwell throwing out the lead runner at third for the second out but then a double, an error and another double made it 3-2.
The Sox stranded a pair in the top of the second as Korey Thompson and Tyler Green singled with two down.
Rogersville scored three more in the bottom of the inning, again with two out. A single, a walk and a home run accounted for the scoring.
After that, however, Schalchlin worked around a single in the third then a hit and a walk in the fourth, with the help of a doubleplay by the Sox. He retired the side with no further damage in the fifth despite another single and a walk. A two-out walk came to naught in the sixth. In the seventh, a double was erased with a doubleplay on a liner back to Schalchlin before a groundout to Ezell at short ended the game.
The Sox trailed 6-2 until the fourth inning when they began their comeback. Zach Graddy opened the fourth with a single and, an out later, Thompson cracked his second hit. Base hits by Green and Ezell got Bryant on the board and, after Wilson walked, Gogus singled and Daniel Richards walked.
Suddenly the game was tied 6-6. And, in the fifth, the Sox took the lead. The second of Graddy’s three hits was a triple to lead off the frame. He scored on a single by Green.
It stayed 7-6 until the bottom of the seventh when the Sox erupted for five more. Graddy got it going again with a single. Josh Davis singled as well and, after Thompson sacrificed them to second and third, consecutive walks to Ezell, Wilson, Gogus and Zach Cambron forced in the runs.
In the wild first game, Bryant built a 3-0 lead over the first two innings. In the first, Ezell singled and Wilson drilled a double. Gogus walked and, with two down, Schalchlin cracked a single.
In the second, Thompson singled with one out and, with two down, Ezell drove him home with a base hit.
The Sox had a chance to add to the margin in the top of the third when walks to Richards and Davis, around an error on a ball hit by Schalchlin loaded the bags with one out only to have Harrison escape.
Meanwhile, Green, the Bryant starter, retired six of the first seven batters he faced. In the third, however, he hit a batter and walked one. Despite a Bryant doubleplay, the lead runner came around to score to make it 3-1.
Bryant’s fourth inning began with Green reaching on an error. Ezell singled and Wilson and Gogus were each hit by pitches to force in a run. Richards got down a squeeze bunt then singles by Schalchlin and Davis made it 6-1.
Harrison chipped away with four runs in the bottom of the inning, aided by a pair of Bryant errors and two walks.
Bryant countered with its key fifth-inning eruption beginning with a single by Thompson. Green cracked a triple then scored on a squeeze bunt by Ezell. With two down, Gogus singled, Richards belted a double and Schalchlin singled. Davis reached on an error then Graddy singled to make it 11-5.
An error contributed to Harrison’s two-run fifth and another helped produce two more in the sixth before Cambron escaped, stranding the potential tying runs at second and third. The Bryant lefty then worked around a one-out single in the seventh to close out the victory.