Early runs, Renfrow’s pitching lift Senior Sox to semifinals

GONZALEZ, La. — A four-run first got the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team off to a good start then Slade Renfrow pitched shutout ball for five innings on the way to a 6-2 win over the Tupelo 49ers in the first round of bracket play at the Louisiana Challenge on Saturday.

The Sox, now15-6 overall this season, advance to the semifinals against the host team at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon. Championship game will follow for the winner.

Brayden Lester had two hits to lead the Sox’ offense, which produced eight hits.

Renfrow ran into trouble in the sixth and surrendered a run. Coby Greiner relieved in the seventh and closed out the win.

After Renfrow pitched around a pair of walks in the top of the first, the Sox’ initial burst began with Logan Chambers’ double. With one out, Cade Drennan grounded a single up the middle to make it 1-0.

Jake Wright walked and followed courtesy runner Ryan Lessenberry to third on a passed ball, setting the stage for Logan Grant’s two-run single.

After Gage Stark drew a walk, Lester beat out an infield hit to get Grant home with the fourth run.

Renfrow needed just eight pitches to set the 49ers aside in the top of the second then pitched around a pair of singles in the third.

The Sox tacked on in the bottom of the third after two were out. Lester singled to right and Aaron Morgan pulled a single into left before Chambers hit a fly to left hat was misplayed allowing Lester to score. Morgan came in on a base knock by Catton.

Renfrow surrendered a lead-off double in the top of the fourth but struck out the next two batters before he hit a man. But a grounder to Chambers at short resulted in an inning ending force.

Tupelo started the fourth with a double. After a flyout, a pair of walks filled the bases. But Renfrow got the next batter to hit a tapper in front of the plate that Drennan, the Sox’ catcher, pounced on, getting a force at the plate. A fly to Stark in left ended the threat.

In the sixth, however, the 49ers led off an inning with a double for the third time. The next two batters were retired before a double brought a run in to make it 6-1.

Renfrow’s last pitch, starting the top of the seventh, was hit for a home run to make it 6-2. Greiner relieved and struck out two on the way to closing the door around a one-out single.

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