Photos courtesy of Samantha Breeding
WACO, Texas — On the heels of six shutout innings by Blaine Knight in the first game of two on Saturday at Midway High School in Waco, right-hander Alex Shurtleff turned in five innings of shutout ball in the Bryant Hornets’ fourth and final game at a tournament. The Robert E. Lee Red Raiders of Tyler, Texas managed a run in the sixth but, with the tying runs on second and third, Shurtleff extracted himself from the jam with a strikeout. He then fanned two more in a 1-2-3 seventh to close out a 3-1 win.
Bryant completed a four-game sweep of the event. The Hornets were set to play Watson Chapel on Monday but that game has been cancelled. Their Central Conference opener against Siloam Springs is scheduled for Friday, May 20.
Shurtleff allowed just three hits without a walk against Tyler Lee. He fanned eight. The lone Red Raiders run was unearned.
The Hornets cracked eight hits including two each from Jason Hastings and Dylan Hurt.
Tyler Lee threatened first. In the top of the second, a single and an error had runners at second and third. Mark Swartz then smacked a liner to shortstop Jake East. He doubled off Garrett Hudson at second and the Hornets nearly got a triple play but the runner at first, Nick Goodwin got back to the bag just before Hurt’s relay.
But Shurtleff struck out Jonathan Randall to end the threat.
The Hornets proceeded to get on the board in the bottom of the inning. Blake Patterson singled to right and, with one out, Trey Breeding singled to left. Patterson and Connor Tatum, the courtesy runner for Breeding, then pulled off a double steal. With two down, Hurt slapped a single to right to drive both of them in.
The Red Raiders got a runner to third in the top of the third. Stephen MacPherson was robbed of a hit by East to start the inning then Kade Keener singled to left and advanced to second when the ball was misplayed. Shurtleff got the next batter to fly out as Keener tagged and went to third. But Shurtleff picked off Keener as the Hornets worked the rundown to end the frame.
With Shurtleff setting down eight in a row, the game stayed 2-0 until the fifth. In the top of the inning, the Bryant junior right-hander fanned the side. In the home half, Drew Tipton worked MacPherson for a walk. He stole second, took third on a passed ball and, after Hastings drew a free pass, scored on a sacrifice fly by Evan Lee.
The first two Red Raiders were retired in the top of the sixth but errors allowed Parker Bramlett and Henry Smith to reach base. Parker Bates lined a double to center to plate Bramlett, making it 3-1. With the potential tying runs in scoring position at second and third, Shurtleff struck out Hudson, the Tyler clean-up hitter, to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, he struck out the first two then Randall popped out to Tatum at second to end the game.