By Rob Patrick
BENTON — The Everett Black Sox of Bryant played lights out on[more] Thursday night.
With the AA Sox leading 14-3 and at the plate with two outs and a runner on first, the lights at Bill Perry Field in Bernard Holland Park turned off. The umpires called the game at that point so the lead held for a Bryant victory over Benton Everett.
The win improved the Sox to 15-3 on the season going into play at a wood bat tournament at Hot Springs Lakeside today, with a rematch between Bryant Everett and Benton Everett.
On Thursday, Wesley Akers hammered three hits including two doubles while Trevor Ezell, Jason Hastings, Chase Tucker and Trey Breeding racked up two hits apiece for the Black Sox in support of Austin Caldwell who worked into the fourth allowing three runs but only one earned. Tucker closed out the fourth with a pair of strikeouts.
A six-run second broke open a 3-2 game. Bryant added a run in the third and scored four times in the fourth.
To start the game, Ezell, who came into the game hitting a smoking .510 this season, beat out an infield hit. Hastings did the same after Ezell had stolen second. Benton starter Jordan Allred then balked to allow the first run in. Akers shot a single to left and stole second but Allred struck out the next two batters and was a strike away from ending the inning without further damage. But Tucker slashed a two-run single to right to make it 3-0.
In the bottom of the inning, Caldwell spun up two impressive curveballs for strikes to Benton’s lead-off man Michael Higgenbotham but he wound up issuing a walk. Zack Caplinger walked as well on a 3-2 pitch then Cody Fortner, trying to sacrifice, popped up a bunt. Devin Dupree came charging in from first and, with a headlong dive, nearly caught the ball in the air. But it trickled out of his glove.
Dupree, who wasn’t sure if he caught it in the air, alertly came up throwing in hopes of either doubling off the runner at first or to throw out Fortner. But his throw was off-line to second baseman Korey Thompson who was covering first. Thompson, seeing Higgenbotham making a wide turn at third, relayed to Akers but his throw was off-target and Higgenbotham scored.
A pitch later, Tyler Hamilton pulled a single into left to make it 3-2. But after Dillon Pierce popped up to Caldwell, Breeding, the Bryant catcher, gunned down Hamilton trying to steal, sending it to the second inning.
Bryant’s big inning began with a walk to Dupree. Breeding singled and, after a wild pitch moved them up to second and third, Hastings singled both home with one out. Akers laced the next pitch to the base of the fence in left for an RBI double to make it 6-2.
The inning continued with a two-out walk to Harrison Dale. He swiped second and Tucker came through with another RBI single. With runners at the corners, Tucker took his turn at thievery then walks to Thompson, Dupree and Breeding forced in a couple of runs, increasing the margin to 9-2.
Caldwell struck out the side in the second and the Sox picked up a run in the third when Hastings was hit by a pitch and Akers blasted another double off the fence in left. Cody Gogus launched a sacrifice fly to left to make it 10-2.
Benton added a run in the home half of the inning when Higgenbotham singled, took second on an errant pickoff throw, third on a wild pitch then scored on a wild pitch. But Caldwell got Zack Caplinger to fly out to C.J. Phillips in left. Fortner then bounced out to Besancon at short to end the inning.
The onslaught continued in the top of the fourth. With one out, Breeding and Ezell cracked singles. A wild pitch moved Breeding to third and he scored moments later on a Phillips’ sacrifice fly.
Akers drew a walk then Gogus singled in Ezell. Akers raced to third and Gogus eased into second on the late throw to the plate. After a pitching change, Dale completed the scoring with a shot to right for a two-run single.
Thompson made a diving catch of a pop up on the infield to get the first out of the home fourth. Tucker then came in and needed just seven pitches to strike out Pierce and Grant Posey.
Dupree singled with one out in the top of the fifth and, after Breeding grounded into a force at second and Ezell was about to bat again, the lights went out and the game was called.
It was the 11th time the Black Sox scored in double digits this season including four games in a row.
BRYANT EVERETT BLACK SOX AA 14, BENTON EVERETT JUNIOR 3
Black Sox ab r h bi Benton ab r h bi
Ezell, ss 4 2 2 0 Higgenbotham, ss-p 1 2 1 0
Hastings, lf 2 2 2 2 Caplinger, c 1 1 0 0
Phillips, pr-lf 0 1 0 1 Fortner, lf-ss-p 1 0 0 0
Akers, 3b 3 3 3 1 Hamilton, cf 2 0 1 1
Gogus, dh-1b 3 1 1 2 Pierce, 1b-rf-lf 2 0 0 0
Dale, rf-lf 2 1 1 2 Posey, 2b 2 0 0 0
Tucker, cf-p 4 1 2 3 Lockeby, rf-p 1 0 0 0
Thompson, 2b 3 0 0 0 Walker, 3b 1 0 0 0
Dupree, 1b-rf 2 1 1 1 Allred, p-1b 1 0 0 0
Breeding, c 3 2 2 1
Caldwell, p 0 0 0 0
Totals 26 14 14 14 Totals 12 3 2 1
BRYANT 361 4 — 14
Benton 201 0 — 3
E—Dupree, Thompson, Caldwell. LOB—Bryant 8, Benton 0. 2B—Akers 2. SB—Ezell, Akers, Dale, Tucker. S—Fortner. SF—Gogus, Phillips.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Caldwell (W, 2-0) 3.1 3 1 2 2 3
Tucker 0.2 0 0 0 0 2
Allred (L) 1.2 9 9 8 3 3
Lockeby 0 0 0 0 2 0
Higgenbotham 2 5 5 4 2 1
Fortner 0.1 0 0 2 0 0
Balk—Allred. WP—Allred, Higgenbotham, Caldwell 2.