Everett Black Sox capture Zone tourney crown
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting 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).
Photo courtesy of Sandy Orender
SHERIDAN — When their game was interrupted by lightning at the start of the bottom of the third, the Everett Black Sox of Bryant held a 2-0 lead on the Sheridan Yellowjackets in the Zone 4 Junior American Legion tournament. It was the winners bracket final at that point and the two teams were playing for a spot in the championship game. Both had already qualified for bids to the State Tournament.
When they resumed on Wednesday night, the game was declared a winner-take-all final in order to get the tournament over with. Centerpoint and Hot Springs Lakeside were playing in the losers bracket to determine the third seed from Zone 4 to State. Originally, the teams were set to play out for the seeds with a losers bracket final and a championship round but the time constraints resulted in the shift of plans.
The Sox came into the tournament with championships in all three they’d played in this season (at Lakeside; Omaha, Neb.; and Memphis, Tenn.) They’re now 4 for 4 as the jumped on the Yellowjackets for five runs when the game resumed on the way to a 10-1 victory and the Zone title.
And, as if to emphasize that their work was not yet done, Sox coaches Tyler Brown and Ozzie Hurt had the team running in the outfield after the game.
The Black Sox captured the program’s first Junior State title last season and went on to add the Mid-South Regional title on their home field. Though this year’s is almost a new roster, they’ll be contending for a repeat.
Tentative plans were for them to start that bid at 2:30 p.m., on Friday but it’s up in the air where it will be held. Originally, plans were set for the tournament to be held at Burns Park in North Little Rock but the field is unplayable. Legion officials were looking for a new venue on Wednesday.
Hunter Oglesby, one of the players that contributed to last season’s phenomenal run, started Tuesday’s title game and resumed the mound duties on Wednesday. He wound up scattering seven hits, surrendering the lone run in the top of the fifth. He fanned four and, significantly, walked no one.
The Sox, meanwhile, benefitted from four walks, a hit batsman and five Sheridan errors.
Garrett Misenheimer provided a bunch of offense, going 3 for 4 with two runs batted in. Connor Tatum added two hits and scored three times. Logan Allen was on base all four plate appearances and scored three runs as well.
As they did when the game resumed, the Sox, now 27-6, jumped out right away to start the game on Tuesday. But it took a sparkling head’s up play by Connor Tatum in the top of the first to stop a potential uprising for Sheridan. With two down, Nick Whitley beat a slow roller to third for a base hit. Evan Thompson followed with a bouncing ball to the right side that looked like it was headed to right field. But Tatum, the Bryant second baseman ranged far to his right and knocked the ball down. Whitley, thinking the ball was rolling into right, rounded second and headed for third. By the time he got there, third sacker Jordan Gentry had the ball waiting after Tatum made a strong throw from the outfield grass.
The defensive contrast was presented in short order as the Sox came to bat in the bottom of the inning. Allen slapped a single to right that got past the Sheridan outfielder, allowing him to reach second. Tatum followed with a bouncer up to the right side that Sheridan second baseman Renner Smith reached but couldn’t get a throw to first in time to get the out. Meanwhile, the speedy Allen rounded third and caught the Sheridan fielders napping a bit as he scored without a throw.
Similarly, Tatum raced all the way to third on Misenheimer’s first hit, a roller up the right side that first baseman Dustin Reid ranged to his right to field. But Misenheimer beat pitcher Brady Bibb to the bag for the hit.
Though Dylan Hurt grounded into a doubleplay after that, it enabled Tatum to score to make it 2-0.
Both teams were retired in order in the second as the lightning started showing up on the horizon. In the top of the third, Blayke Nooner reached base on Bryant’s lone error. Jesse Smith sacrificed him to second and Renner Smith got him to third with a grounder to the right side. But Oglesby struck out Bibb to end the third.
And with Jake East stepped towards the plate to start the bottom of the inning, the umpires sent the players to their respective dugouts. After a considerable delay as the storms got closer and closer, the game was suspended. The storms hit as everyone was driving away.
Sheridan turned to Tyler Cleveland to pitch when the game resumed and he got the first out of the third but then walked Allen. Tatum, Misenheimer, Hurt and Oglesby followed with consecutive singles to make it 5-0.
Austin Kelly, running for Hurt, scored from second when Gentry’s grounder to short drew a wild throw to first. With Oglesby on third, Aaron Orender came through with a sacrifice fly and it was 7-0.
The Bryant hurler pitched around two-out singles by Lathan Wylie and Reid in the fourth. In the fifth, Cleveland beat out an infield hit, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jesse Smith, third on a single by Renner Smith and scored on a two-out double by Whitley. But Oglesby got Thompson, the Sheridan clean-up hitter, to fly to Allen in center to end the inning.
That started a string in which the Bryant right-hander retired seven in a row to finish out the game.
In the interim, the Sox made a bid to make it a run-rule win. In the bottom of the sixth, Allen and Tatym drew walks and both scored on Misenheimer’s drive to the base of the fence in left-center for a double.
Hurt was hit by a pitch then Oglesby tapped to third. Wylie got a force on Misenheimer but his throw to first pulled Reid off the bag as the inning continued. Gentry’s grounder to short was booted and Kelly scored again. With runners at second and third, Cleveland got the final out to give his team one more chance to mount a rally but to no avail.
BRYANT EVERETT 10, SHERIDAN 1
Yellowjackets ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
R.Smith, 2b 4 0 1 0 Allen, cf 2 3 1 0
Bibb, p-cf 3 0 0 0 Tatum, 2b 3 3 2 1
Whitley, ss 3 0 2 1 Misenheimer, 1b 4 1 3 2
Thompson, c 3 0 1 0 Hurt, c 3 0 1 1
Wylie, 3b 3 0 1 0 Kelly, cr 0 2 0 0
Reid, dh 3 0 1 0 Oglesby, p 4 1 1 2
Quintanilla, 1b 3 0 0 0 Gentry, 3b 3 0 0 0
Nooner, rf 1 0 0 0 Orender, lf 3 0 1 1
Cleveland, p 2 0 1 0 Coleman, rf 3 0 0 0
Glidden, cr 0 1 0 0 East, ss 3 0 0 0
J.Smith, lf-rf 1 0 0 0
Clay, cf-lf 0 0 0 0
Totals 26 1 7 1 Totals 28 10 9 7
Sheridan 000 010 0 — 1
Bryant 205 003 x — 10
E—Nooner, East, Quintanilla, Whitley 2, Wylie. DP—Sheridan 1. LOB—Sheridan 6, Bryant 6. 2B—Whitley, Misenheimer. S—J.Smith 2. SF—Orender.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Bibb (L) 2 2 1 3 0 0
Cleveland 4 8 5 5 4 1
Oglesby (W) 7 1 1 7 0 4
HBP—Hurt (by Cleveland).