Harp’s four-hit shutout, Junior Sox’ big inning produces big win
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MEMPHIS — Right-hander Christian Harp fired a four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and no walks over seven innings as the Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion team notched a 4-0 win over Extreme Elite this afternoon at the University of Memphis.
The win made the Sox 2-1 in pool play at The Hagan, the Keith Hagan Memorial All-America Classic. They’re 17-10 overall going into this evening’s pool play finale against Team Colorado.
The loss for Extreme Elite was its first in pool play, giving the Sox a chance to gain the top seed from the pool for bracket play that begins on Monday.
Bryant and Extreme Elite battled without either scoring through four innings. In the bottom of the fifth, the Black Sox scored all the runs in the game, grabbing the 4-0 lead.
Logan Chambers led the offense with three hits. Jacob Wright and Logan Catton added two each.
Harp had to pitch out of trouble in each of the first two innings. In the opening frame, an error starting things for Extreme but, after a strikeout, he picked the runner off first. That proved fortuitous when the next batter single and advanced to second on a balk. But the next batter bounced out to first baseman Brandon Hoover who flipped to Harp covering the bag to end the inning.
Catton reached base in the bottom of the first when he was struck by a pitch. Extreme rolled a doubleplay to keep it scoreless.
A single and a hit batsman had two on base with one out in the top of the second. But Harp fanned the next two to force the Elite to strand both.
Similarly, Chambers singled and Hoover walked with one out in the bottom of the inning but the Sox were set down without scoring.
A one-out single in the top of the third went for naught and, in the home half, the Sox threatened again. With one out, Wright shot a single to center and, with Konnor Clontz runner for the catcher, Catton beat out an infield hit. But Clontz was out on a force at third off of Coby Greiner’s grounder and Harp bounced to short to send it to the fourth.
Neither team mustered much in the fourth. The only base-runner was Chambers who singled to left but was left aboard.
Harp, in a stretch in which he set down eight in a row, sent the game to the bottom of the fifth still scoreless.
The door opened for the Sox when Myers Buck reached on an error. Wright yanked a single to left and Catton beat out a bunt for a base hit to load the bases for Greiner who lined an RBI single to left.
The ice having been broken, the Sox added on when Harp came through with a sacrifice fly. Catton and Greiner worked a double steal then Chambers bounced a single up the middle to plate Catton. Hoover capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to get Greiner home, making it 4-0.
Harp surrendered a single to start the Elite sixth. An error put runners at second and third but Harp fanned the next batter. Chambers snared a liner to third and doubled up the runner at second as the Sox preserved the shutout.
After the Sox were set down in order in the bottom of the sixth, Harp and the Bryant defense returned the favor to close out the game in the top of the seventh.
Special thanks to J’Ann Boyd