By Rob Patrick
SHERIDAN — Throwing strikes means a lot and, on Saturday at the Zone 4 Junior American Legion[more] Tournament, Hunter Oglesby and Andrew Kincaid did it much better for the Sport Shop Black Sox of Bryant than a trio of hurlers for the Little Rock Express.
Oglesby walked the first batter he faced then never faced as much as a three-ball count in his four inning of work. Neither did Kincaid in a 1-2-3 fifth as the duo combined on a two-hit shutout in a 12-0 win in five innings.
On the other hand, the Sox were given 11 walks and took advantage of those with nine hits including three by Jimbo Seale and two by Dakota Besancon. That duo combined to drive in six of Bryant’s runs.
Now 15-5, the Sox, who earned one of four first-round byes for the Zone tourney, have won 10 straight games going into a winners bracket semifinal game on Sunday at 2 p.m., against Genoa Central, an 8-5 winner over Ashdown.
The Express, which won over Lake Hamilton on Friday, faced an elimination game later Saturday after noon against Benton Sport Shop.
“Oglesby came out on the mound and did really well, threw a lot of strikes,” acknowledged Black Sox manager Tyler Pickett. “He struggled a little bit in the first and got some guys on then really just let them get themselves out. We got out of here in five and got Kincaid in there. He did real well at the end. We saved some pitching and we’re ready for tomorrow’s game.”
After the opening walk to Ryan Panyard, Oglesby got Geoff Flemmons to ground back to the mound for a force at second. Will Kidd followed with a single to right but Oglesby struck out clean-up hitter Colton Fisher and induced a bouncer to second for a force to end the inning.
It was the only time in the game that Little Rock had two men on base in the same inning.
Jacob White, the Express starter, appeared to be on his way to a rather mundane first inning as well, striking out two around a single by Blake Patterson. But wild pitches had Patterson on third when C.J. Phillips earned a walk. After Phillips got into scoring position with a stolen base, Besancon came up. He fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches then laced a double to the gap in right-center to drive in the first two runs of the game.
That sparked what turned into a six-run outburst. Seale singled up the middle to drive in Besancon then White started to struggle with his control. Weston Jones walked and so did Justin Emmerling, loading the bases for Dalton Holt, who topped one toward third that Fisher charged in to field. Though he had no play, he fired to first and it went awry. Both Seale and Jones scored to make it 5-0.
Holt stole second then Drew Tipton walked to load the bases for Patterson. Flemmons relieved for Little Rock and, on an 0-2 pitch, plunked Patterson to force in run number six.
In the second, Oglesby was knocked down by a liner off the bat of Andrew Weichern, but he somehow caught the ball for the first out. He went on to work around a two-out error to send it to the bottom of the inning.
White’s grounder to third to end the top of the second started a stretch in which the Bryant right-hander retired five in a row. Weichern singled with two out in the fourth but Luke Vandover grounded out to end the inning.
Bryant tacked on a run in the bottom of the second when Besancon reached on a one-out error, Seale singled, Jones walked and, with two down, Holt drew a free pass for an RBI.
The Sox took any remaining mystery out of the outcome with four in the third. Patterson walked and Oglesby singled then Flemmons issued free passes to Phillips, Besancon, and Seale.
Panyard relieved to get the first out but when Emmerling lofted a foul fly beyond the first base bag, Weichern, the Express’ first sacker raced back to make the catch. Phillips, noticing that Kidd, the Little Rock catcher, had run up the line and left the plate open, sprinted home and beat Kidd to the plate, making it 10-0.
The inning continued with a walk to Holt to refill the bags. Tipton was hit by a pitch and in came Besancon with the 11th run.
Panyard retired the first two in the fourth with help from Fisher at third, who made a diving catch to rob Oglesby of a hit. Besancon, however, ripped a 2-0 pitch into the left-field corner for a triple and, on the very next pitch, Seale singled him in. Braylon Mays slapped a single to right but Panyard ended the inning with a strikeout, avoiding any further damage.
“They kept coming through for us,” Pickett said of Besancon and Seale. “They were huge with guys in scoring position, with two strikes, two outs. They really carried the offense, let it get rolling.
“We did really well getting guys on, working the pitch count, finding a pitch to hit and finding ways to score runs,” he concluded.
Kincaid needed just 10 pitches to retire the side in order in the top of the fifth, closing out the win by catching a pop on the infield himself.
BRYANT SPORT SHOP BLACK SOX 12, LITTLE ROCK EXPRESS 0
Junior American Legion Zone 4 Tournament
Express ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Panyard, cf-p 2 0 0 0 Tipton, 2b 2 0 0 1
Flemmons, rf-p 2 0 0 0 Patterson, ss 2 2 1 1
Kidd, c-1b 2 0 1 0 Kincaid, p 0 0 0 0
Fisher, 3b 2 0 0 0 Oglesby, p-cf 4 1 1 0
Wagner, lf 2 0 0 0 Phillips, 3b 2 2 0 0
Weichern, 1b-c 2 0 1 0 Besancon, cf-ss 3 4 2 3
Vandover, 2b 2 0 0 0 Seale, c 3 1 3 3
Ferguson, ss 1 0 0 0 Jones, rf 1 1 0 0
Knox, ph 1 0 0 0 Mays, rf 1 0 1 0
White, p-rf 1 0 0 0 Emmerling, 1b 2 1 0 1
Dahmaz, cf 1 0 0 0 Holt, lf 1 0 1 2
Totals 18 0 2 0 Totals 21 12 9 11
Little Rock 000 00 — 0
BRYANT 614 1x — 12
E—Fisher, Tipton, Ferguson. LOB—Little Rock 4, Bryant 11. 2B—Besancon. 3B—Besancon. SB—Phillips, Holt, Weichern. SF—Emmerling.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
White (L) 0.2 6 5 4 4 2
Flemmons 1.1 5 4 2 6 4
Panyard 2 1 1 3 1 3
Oglesby (W) 4 0 0 2 1 1
Kincaid 1 0 0 0 0 1
Flemmons faced five batters in the third.
HBP—Patterson (by Flemmons), Tipton (by Panyard). WP—White 2, Flemmons.