LITTLE ROCK — Peyton Dillon and Logan Catton combined on a three-hit shutout while Jake Wright cracked two hits and drove in two of the Bryant Black Sox’ runs in a 3-0 win over Pine Bluff Dodge to open the 2017 Junior American Legion State Tournament at Gary Hogan Field on Friday.
The Sox advance to play the winner of the Russellville-Benton Williams Tire contest that was to be played late Friday.
Dillon allowed two hits and a walk while striking out two over the first four innings of the game. Catton finished, allowing one hit and a walk in three frames. He struck out one.
It was actually a scoreless pitching duel through six innings. Bryant finally broke through in the top of the seventh getting all three of its runs.
Brayden Lester started the uprising with a walk. After he took second on a passed ball, Ryan Lessenberry was struck by a pitch. With courtesy runner Jarod Yarborough in for Lessenberry, the Bryant catcher, Konnor Clontz executed a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.
Catton provided the first run with a sacrifice fly. Coby Greiner lined a single to left to move Yarborough to third. Greiner stole second to set the stage for Wright to rip a double to left that chased both Yarborough and Greiner home making it 3-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Catton issued a one-out walk but got the next batter to tap back to the mound for the second out. A grounder to Greiner at second resulted in the final out as the Sox claimed a dramatic win.
Dillon worked a 1-2-3 first. The second was not so easy. A lead-off single and a error had the first two Pine Bluff batters aboard. But he worked out of the jam.
An error in the bottom of the third didn’t phase the Bryant hurler. He retired the next three. He retired the side in order in the bottom of the fourth.
Pine Bluff made some noise in the fifth. With one out, a walk then a single had two on base. Catton entered in relief and induced a comebacker. Catton threw to third for a force then ended the inning by getting a grounder to Greiner at second.
He worked around a one-out single in the sixth and a one-out walk in the seventh.
Before the game-winning seventh-inning uprising, the Sox’ best chance to score was in the sixth when Wright walked and, with two out, Dillon reached on an error. Cade Drennan was then robbed of a hit when his line drive was caught at third to end the inning.