AAA Black Sox whip LR Red
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).
By ROB PATRICK
Baseball coaches and analysts talk about it all the time: When you’ve got a big lead, throw strikes, don’t give away anything with walks, make the other guy earn it if he’s going to come back.
On Monday, July 11, Todd Bryan was staked to a 6-0 lead. And, though he gave up nine hits in six-plus innings of work on the mound, he did not walk a one as the Bryant Black Sox AAA American Legion team claimed a 10-5 victory over Area IV District rival Little Rock Post 1 Red at Bryant Field.
A pair of clutch two-run singles, both with two strikes, by Danny Riemenschneider keyed the Sox’ offense. Riemenschneider went 3-for-3 with four runs batted in and a successful sacrifice that set up Bryant’s first run.
It was the second straight win in District play for the league-leading Sox after they suffered their first loss. They’ve won 13 of their last 14 and sport a 24-6 overall record going into the final three days of the regular season.
They were set to visit Sylvan Hills of a nine-inning non-league game on Wednesday, July 13, then host District rivals Sheridan for a doubleheader on Thursday, and second-place Little Rock Blue for a single game on Friday.
“It’s the dog days of July,” said manager Craig Harrison after the game. “We’re not playing our best baseball but what’s encouraging is we’re still winning and we’ve got a shot to win the league. It’s under our own control now since Little Rock Blue beat Pine Bluff.
“We’ll go to Sylvan Hills and I look for that to be one of these games like tonight where we may kick it around a little bit because we’re going to play some different guys and throw some other pitchers because the three games on Thursday and Friday are the biggest games of the year,” he said. “The encouraging thing is that when we went to the tournament in St. Louis, we meshed and we played good baseball. I’m hoping when the district gets here that we’ll get that same energy.
“Right now, we’re just going through the motions,” Harrison stated. “We’re making mistakes we don’t normally make. The players are little on edge. The good thing is we play Friday then we’re done then we’ll have a whole week to rest. Everybody’s a little tired right now.”
While Bryan was mowing down the first six Red batters, the Sox were putting up runs. In the first, Bryan drew a walk, Riemenschneider sacrificed and, with two out, Zack Young walked. Red starter Ryan Gibson unleashed a pair of wild pitches with Daniel Price at the plate and the first run scored.
In the second, Justin Wells, who had two hits in the game, led off with a single. Cory Lambert cracked a base hit up the middle then Casey Grisham sent a long high fly to deep center that Little Rock’s Brandon Dinwiddie got to but dropped.
With the bases loaded, Travis Queck hit a grounder that shortstop Nathan Hill had to charge. Though he’d been playing back for the doubleplay, Hill threw home. It was too late, however, as Wells scored.
An out later, Riemenschneider, on an 0-2 pitch, chopped a single into left to drive in two, making it 4-0.
Queck scored when he beat the throw to the plate on Aaron Davidson’s grounder to third. Young reached when Riemenschneider was thrown out at the plate on his grounder to third but Daniel Price came through with a two-out RBI single to make it 6-0.
Red whittled a run off the lead in each of the next three innings. In the third, Brian Clark, Chad Broadway and Nathan Hill all singled to load the bases with no one out. Brandon Frazier then lifted a flyball to Price in right as all three runners tagged. Price conceded the run but fired a strike to Wells, the cutoff man, who gunned down Broadway as he tried to advance to third for a doubleplay.
An error kept the inning going, but Bryan stepped up and struck out Drew Tappan to keep it 6-1.
In the fourth, a single by Cody Borin, a wild pitch and a base hit by Brandon White made it 6-2. Richard Weatherford also singled but Bryan got Clark to ground to Riemenschneider at second. He tagged Weatherford, whirled and threw to first to nail Clark for a doubleplay that took the starch out of the uprising. Bryan got Broadway to bounce out to Young at third to end the inning.
In the fifth, Hill singled but was forced on a grounder back to Bryan. Frazier, however, stole second and drew an errant throw allowing him to take third. Dinwiddie delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 6-3. Tappan singled but Young robbed Borin of a base hit to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Sox added some insurance with Riemenschneider coming through again. With one out, Lambert and Grisham walked. Both moved up on a passed ball but Lambert was caught in a rundown and tagged out at third on Queck’s grounder. But Bryan worked a walk to load the bases for Riemenschneider who stroked a 1-2 pitch into left-center for a tide-turning two-run single and a 8-3 lead.
Bryan settled in and worked around a hit batsman in the top of the sixth and the Sox added two more in the bottom of the inning. With two down, Wells doubled, Lambert walked and, after a wild pitch, Grisham ripped a double to right to chase them both home.
A single and an error to start the seventh finished Bryan’s work on the bump. Grisham relieved and surrendered a single to load the bases then a pair of wild pitches to allow two to score. But he retired the next three to end it at that.