Everett Sox endure a seven-game gauntlet in three days to reach tourney finals

HOT SPRINGS — Playing seven games in three days, the Everett Black Sox AA American Legion team of Bryant absorbed[more] its first loss of the season but came back to avenge it on the way to the championship of a tournament in Hot Springs. In the Sunday, June 10, final — in Bryant’s third game of the day — a team from Oklahoma City prevailed 11-3 to deny the Sox the championship.

The Everett team opened the tournament on Friday, June 8, with a 19-1 win over Cabot. Later that day, it absorbed a tough 4-3 loss to Genoa Central. On Saturday, the Sox bounced back to dismiss the Conway Cougars, 22-2, then ousted Genoa Central, 15-0. Sunday’s gauntlet started in the morning with a 17-3 win over the Texarkana, Texas, Tigers followed by an 18-2 win over the Rose Bud Hogs that thrust Bryant into the title game.

Now 10-2 on the season, Bryant is set to return to action on Wednesday, June 13, at home against Hot Springs Village.

Bryant 19, Cabot 1

The Sox scored in each of the four innings in support of the pitching of Austin Caldwell. Korey Thompson relieved in the fifth and worked around a lead-off single, striking out two.

Cabot grabbed the lead in the top of the first. Clay Spafford singled, stole his way to third and, after Nathan Davis walked, Dillon Buchanan singled in the run. But the Sox turned a doubleplay to end the inning and it proved to be Cabot’s lone run.

Caldwell worked around a one-out single in the second then overcame an error and a walk in the third. In the fourth, he fanned the lead-off man but an error and a double had runners at second and third. Josh Kelpine’s fly to left appeared to be a sacrifice fly but, on appeal, it was ruled the runner had left early resulting in the third out of the inning.

By then, the Sox were in control. They scored four runs on just one hit in the first. Trevor Ezell walked, Harrison Dale was hit by a pitch and Wes Akers was plunked as well. Along the way, Ezell stole his way to third and when Dale swiped second, an errant throw allowed him to come around and score. Akers wound up at third and he followed home on a sacrifice fly by Cody Gogus. Jason Hastings singled, went to third on an error and scored on a passed ball to make it 4-1.

Six scored in the second as the Sox hacked out five hits. Tryce Schalchlin singled to open the inning. Though he was forced at second on Trey Breeding’s tap back to the mound, an error allowed Breeding to take second. Ezell slapped a single to right and Dale drove in the run with a base hit. A passed ball moved runners up to second and third before Akers was hit by a pitch again to fill the bags for Gogus who was issued a four-pitch RBI walk. Dale and Akers both wound up scoring on a pitch that got away from the Cabot catcher. With Gogus at third, Hastings drew a walk and stole second.

Thompson singled in a run but Hastings was thrown out trying to score. C.J. Phillips was hit by a pitch after Thompson swiped second then Schalchlin ripped a single to center to cap off the inning.

The Sox trumped that with a seven-run third that started with a solo homer to right-center by Dale. Akers followed with a double and, with one out, Hastings singled, Thompson walked and Devin Dupree was hit by a pitch. A run scored when Schalchlin bounced into a force at second. Breeding singled, Ezell was plunked and Dale reached on a two-base throwing error. Akers finished off the onslaught with a single to left.

Dupree doubled in a run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 19-1.

Genoa Central 4, Bryant 3

Trailing 4-1, the Sox rallied in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead to a run and putting the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base before Genoa Central’s Dragons closed out the win.

The rally began with one out. Caldwell walked and Ezell laced a double to right-center. Dale singled in a run then so did Akers but that’s all the Sox could get as they stranded runners at first and second.

Both teams scored a run in the first. For Genoa Central, it came on a two-out double and a single against Bryant starter Nate Rutherford. The Sox countered in the bottom of the inning. Ezell beat out a bunt hit and reached second on an errant throw. He raced to third on Dale’s grounder to short and scored on a two-out double by Gogus.

After that, the Sox managed just three hits through six innings, singles by C.J. Phillips in the second and Caldwell in the third then a double by Akers in the sixth.

The difference was a three-run fourth for the Dragons who took advantage of a hit batsman and an error with three singles to make it 4-1.

Akers relieved for Bryant in the fifth and retired the first four batters he faced before issuing a walk with one down in the sixth. An error and a passed ball put runners at second and third before Akers struck out the next two batters to end the threat. He worked around a lead-off walk in the top of the seventh to set the stage for Bryant’s rally which came up just short.

Bryant 22, Conway 2

The Sox bashed 14 hits to take advantage of four errors, six walks and six hit batsmen. Gogus and Jordan Taylor each jacked three-run homers. Taylor, who drove in six runs, finished a double short of hitting for the cycle. Ezell also had three hits and a walk. Gogus and Tryce Schalchlin each had two hits.

Bryant’s four-run first was highlighted by an RBI double by Akers and a two-run double by Schalchlin. In a six-run second, Taylor lashed a two-run triple and, after Akers was hit by a pitch, Gogus launched his home run. Chase Tucker singled and scored on a triple by Schalchlin to make it 10-0.

In the third, Ezell singled, Tyler Nelson was hit by a pitch and Taylor ripped his round-tripper to make it 13-0.

Lefty Jason Hastings started for the Sox and retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. The only base-runner came on a two-out error in the second. He fanned five. Gogus made his first mound appearance since last summer in the fourth and struggled with his control. The first five batters he faced reached base as the Cougars scored their two runs but then the right-hander found his stride and struck out the side forcing them to leave the bases loaded.

Thompson relieved in the fifth and retired the side in order on just 12 pitches.

The Sox, meanwhile, had scored nine more runs on five hits in the bottom of the fourth. The inning included a pair of errors, three walks and two more hit batsmen. Taylor, Gogus and Thompson each had RBI singles.

Bryant 15, Genoa Central 0

Schalchlin fired a three-hit shutout in the five-inning game, allowing a runner past second just once. He struck out six without a walk while his teammates supported him with six-run uprisings in the third and the fifth.

It was just 1-0 after the opening inning. Ezell opened the game with a triple, scoring on a groundout by Dale.

The game went to the third with it still 1-0 but then the Sox took control. Thompson led off with a walk and Ezell singled. They moved up on a passed ball and, as Dale drew a walk, a wild pitch allowed Thompson to score. Tylor then singled in Ezell. Nelson scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Gogus and Akers singled in Taylor to make it 5-0.

After Akers advanced on an error, Hastings got down a bunt hit that drew a wild throw allowing Akers to score. Hastings came around on a base hit by Tucker.

Two more scored in the fourth when Thompson walked, Ezell reached on an error, a wild pitch moved them up and Taylor got a sacrifice fly that was caught by the second baseman thanks to some head’s up base running by Thompson at third.

Gogus followed with an RBI triple as the lead ballooned to 9-0.

The six-run fifth was highlighted by an RBI single by Tucker, a two-run double by Wilson and a two-run single by Taylor.

Bryant 17, Texarkana, Texas 3

Hastings had three hits while Ezell and Akers added two hits each with Ezell smacking a two-run homer in an eight-run third inning that turned the game into a route after the Sox had scored seven times in the first.

Cambron went the distance on the mound for the win, striking out five, walking two and hitting a pair of batters. He gave up six hits including three in a three-run third when Texarkana broke through after falling behind 14-0.

Ezell opened the game with a walk then stole his way to third, drawing a wild throw on the second theft which allowed him to score.

Dale walked and Akers singled. A wild pitch allowed the second run to score then Wilson singled in Akers. Graddy drew a walk and Hastings laced a single to right-center. Tucker beat out a swinging bunt for a hit then Thompson plated a run with a sacrifice fly. Ezell’s double capped the inning.

Hastings started the third with a triple. Tucker was hit by a pitch and stole second and Thompson picked up another RBI with a single to center. Tucker scored on a wild pitch then Ezell unloaded to make it 12-0.

A new pitcher hit Dale then surrendered a single to Akers and a double to Gogus. With one out Graddy walked and Hastings drove in a run with a groundout. Tucker reached on an error as Gogus scored to complete the scoring.

The final two runs scored in the fifth when Rutherford doubled, Wilson singled, Breeding delivered a sacrifice fly and Hastings ripped his third hit, an RBI double.

Bryant 18, Rose Bud 2

Tied 2-2 after three innings, the Sox scored 16 times in the fourth inning to advance to the championship game.

Dupree, who surrendered the Hogs’ two runs in the third, retired the last seven batters he faced to close out the run-rule win.

Trailing 2-0, the Sox tied it in the home third after the Rose Bud pitcher had retired the first six in a row. A double by Tucker broke up the no-hitter. Thompson beat out a bunt hit that got Tucker to third and Breeding plated the run with a sacrifice fly to center. And when Ezell’s grounder to second got past the fielder, Thompson came in with the tying tally.

Dupree struck out the first two in the top of the fifth as part of a 1-2-3 inning then Gogus led off the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to left to snap the tie and open the floodgates.

Wilson walked, stole second and took third on an errant throw. Hastings singled him in then Tucker doubled. Thompson’s single plated a pair of runs then Breeding was hit by a pitch. Ezell singled then Dale’s bunt drew a wild throw, plating two more.

Akers smacked the first of his two hits in the inning and three walks and an error later, Breeding singled up the middle. After Ezell was plunked Dale and Akers singled. An error on Wilson’s fly to center completed the inning.

Oklahoma City, Okla., Bulls 11, Bryant 3

Bryant got out to a 2-0 lead but the Bulls rallied for four in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth and made it a run-rule win in the bottom of the sixth with four more runs.

The Sox’ first-inning run came on a single by Dale and a double by Akers. In the second, Graddy doubled and Tucker singled him in. A bunt hit by Thompson and a two-out error on a grounder by Dale gave the Sox a chance to expand the lead but Tucker was thrown out from left as he tried to score on the error.

Bryant was shut down over the next three innings as Oklahoma City built a 7-2 lead. In the top of the sixth, Gogus doubled and scored on a single by Schalchlin.

Rutherford started on the mound and worked three innings. Akers relieved in the fourth followed by Hastings in the fifth and Dale in the sixth.

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