Sox win District opener
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).
Having already stunned Benton McClendon’s in the first round with a 15-11 defeat, the upstart TexAr Razorbacks of Texarkana, after going 1-9 during the regular season in Zone play, took the second-seeded Bryant Black Sox to the limit on Friday, July 27, at the Zone 4 AAA American Legion baseball tournament at Bryant High School Field.
After the Razorbacks erased a 3-0 deficit to tie it in the top of the ninth, Trent Daniel opened the bottom of the inning with a double and scored on a sharp single to center by Joey Winiecki to give Bryant a 4-3 victory and a spot in the winners bracket final against defending State champion Pine Bluff Simmons First National Bank.
Daniel, in the top of the inning, had teamed up with catcher Kaleb Jobe to prevent Texarkana from taking a lead. The Razorbacks had loaded the bases with two out on a base hit to left, an infield hit and an error when Jimmy Woolery bounced a single to left that drove in the tying run. But when Reggie Thomas tried to score from second on the play in hopes of giving his team the lead, Daniel fired a strike to Jobe who calmly caught the throw then tagged out Thomas as he tried to leap over him to end the inning.
Aaron Davidson, the third Bryant pitcher, earned the victory but coaches Craig and Tic Harrison had hoped to save their ace for Pine Bluff. The right-hander threw 30 pitches, most of which came after he got out of a jam with a pair of strikeouts in the eighth then retired the first two in the ninth.
Starter Ryan Wilson pitched splendidly for the Sox, shutting out TexAr through six innings while his team cobbled together its 3-0 lead. He struck out eight and walked three, while allowing just four hits. The fourth hit and the third walked came in the seventh. With two out in the inning, he gave way to Tanner Zuber who got within a strike of getting out of the jam unscathed before TexAr’s Tyler Weir cracked an RBI single to center.
Zuber struck out the next batter to end the inning but, in the eighth, a single, a deep flyout that moved the runner to second and a one-out double got TexAr within 3-2 and brought Davidson to the mound.
Winiecki was the offensive catalyst for the Sox, going 3 for 4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs including the game-winner. In the first, he beat out a bunt, stole second and took third on a wild throw. Jake Jackson’s grounder to short brought him home.
In the third, Winiecki drew a lead-off walk and again drew a bad throw when he swiped second. An out later, Davidson’s sacrifice fly brought him home to make it 2-0.
A one-out walk to Tyler Sawyer set up Winiecki’s first RBI. This time, it was Sawyer who stole second, drawing another bad throw that allowed him to reach third. With two down, Winiecki cracked a 1-1 delivery up the middle to bring Sawyer home with the third run.
Incidentally, Winiecki stole second again and, this time, the TexAr catcher didn’t even attempt a throw. Jackson was then robbed of an RBI hit on a nice play at third by Will Wagner.
Davidson singled and got to third in the fifth but was stranded. Wilson singled in the sixth and got to third but, likewise, was left on.
Jobe, on in place of starter Tyler Pickett who mashed a finger during a bunt attempt earlier in the game, slapped a single to start the eighth but could get no further than second as Peydon Roberts, the second of TexAr’s pitchers worked four innings of shutout relief before giving way to closer Ross Westbrook in the fateful ninth.