Lefty takes advantage of another opportunity
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
It wasn’t that Travis Wood pitched that badly. A series of flares, ducksnorts and gorks combined with a misplay in the outfield and a couple of walks to produce a 5-0 deficit when Wood and the Bryant Black Sox AAA American Legion team played Arkansas Trailer of Little Rock on Friday, July 25. But that was enough to end Wood’s stint on the mound and eventually produce his first loss of the long Legion season.
It also knocked the Sox into the losers’ bracket of the Area IV Zone Tournament.
So, when Wood got another chance on the mound in an elimination game on Sunday against the Texarkana Advanced Medical Razorbacks, he took advantage. While the Sox blasted their way to a big lead, Wood took a two-hit shutout into the sixth on his way to his sixth win this season, 15-1.
The victory vaulted the Sox within a win of reaching the AAA State Tournament for the third consecutive season. After a brief break following the Texarkana game, Bryant took on rival Benton McClendon’s in pursuit of that State berth (see related story).
Wood wound up giving up one run on five hits in six innings. He also struck out 11 Razorbacks and walked three.
The Sox continued the lusty hitting that had catapulted them past the Little Rock Diamonds on Saturday after they had taken extra batting practice late into the night following the 9-1 loss on Friday against Trailer.
Dustin Easterly, who started the season out on a hot streak before slumping during the middle of the season, continued his return to his previous form with three hits and three runs batted in against Texarkana. Derek Chambers added three hits and Todd Bryan, Travis Wood and Scott Peeler had two each for the Sox.
A seven-run second off Texarkana starter Dylan Moseley put Bryant on the road to victory. With two down, Easterly slapped a single up the middle to get things started. Dustin Tinkler, who reached base four times in the game, poked a single to left then B.J. Wood drew a walk to load the bases for Bryan who came through with a two-run single, advancing to second when the ball was bobbled in left. Chambers chased in two with a single to left and, after Travis Wood walked, Peeler looped an RBI single to left-center. Run scoring singles by Jeff Carpenter and Andrew Norman capped the outburst.
The Sox added two in the fourth when Travis Wood reached on an error, Peeler singled and Carpenter walked to load the bags. Texarkana turned a 5-2-3 doubleplay but Easterly delivered in the clutch. His singled brought home Peeler and Carpenter, making it 9-0.
A 10th run scored in the fifth when Chambers doubled, was balked to third and Travis Wood beat out an infield hit.
Texarkana’s focus strayed in the sixth and Bryant took advantage, scoring three runs without a hit. In the seventh Easterly singled in a run and another scored on a wild pitch.
Travis Wood had allowed a single to Moseley in the second and another to Cody Cunningham in the fifth. In the sixth, Dane Peavy snuck a single into right with one down. Brandon Wells and Adam Cobb singled to chase the run home. Despite a two-out error that loaded the bases, Wood kept it at that.
In the seventh, Carpenter relieved. Brandon Attaway greeted him with a single but, with one out, A.J. Nixon robbed C.T. Almand of a bloop hit with a sliding catch in shallow right. He doubled Attaway off first to end the game.