AAA Sox reach semi’s at Alton
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).
ALTON, Ill. — The Bryant Black Sox AAA American Legion team made a strong bid to repeat as champions of the annual Tournament of Champions in Alton, Ill., reaching the semifinals of the title round before suffering a gut-wrenching 3-2 loss in nine innings to Festus, Mo., the defending Missouri State champions, on Tuesday, July 4.
In fact, the Sox, as Arkansas champs, met Festus in the American Legion Mid-South Regionals held in Pine Bluff last August. Festus defeated a weary Bryant team 6-3 in the Regional opener.
To get to the semifinals, the Sox defeated House Springs, Mo., 9-0, on Monday. Bryant had swept the teams in their pool, opening with a 13-3 win over Brentwood, Mo., on Friday, June 30, then the next day, edging Maumelle, 2-1. On Sunday, they downed Alton, 9-4 and wrapped up pool play with a 10-4 victory over St. Peter’s American-National, 10-4.
The results left the Sox 26-2 on the season going into a Friday, July 7, game against Fayetteville and, the next day, against Evansville, Ind., at UALR.
Danny Riemenschneider pitched eight innings allowing two unearned runs while striking out eight including five in the last two frames he worked. But that ran his pitch total to 115, by far the most he’d thrown in a game to that point, and Ryan Wilson relieved in the ninth. A hit batter, a single and an errant throw allowing the winning run to score.
Festus had picked up single runs in the third and fifth. Bryant was shut out until the seventh when Cory Lambert and Wilson singled, Casey Grisham sacrificed them to second and third and, with the Sox down to their last strike, Joey Winiecki cracked a two-run single to send it into extra innings.
Bryant 9, House Springs, Mo. 0
Lambert fired a one-hit shutout and the Sox broke open a close game late in the quarterfinals.
A double in the second inning was the lone hit for House Springs. Lambert struck out seven and walked just two.
The Sox gave him all the runs he’d need in the first when Riemenschneider, Justin Wells and Aaron Davidson drew walks to load the bases. Devin Hurt hit into a force at second and, when the relay to first was wild, Wells followed Riemenschneider home to make it 2-0.
In the second, Grisham singled, David Guarno walked and Riemenschneider came through with a two-out RBI single to make it 3-0.
It stayed that way until the fifth when Davidson tripled and, with two out, scored when Travis Queck reached on an error.
The four-run seventh began with a solo homer by Wells. Davidson singled, Hurt was hit by a pitch and Queck walked to load the bases for Wilson, who drilled a two-run single to center. Guarno picked up the final RBI with a groundout.
Bryant 10, St. Peter’s American-National 4
The Sox only led 5-4 through three innings but right-hander Drew Short found his stride at that point and shut out St. Peter’s the rest of the way as Bryant completed its sweep of pool play.
Short, who faced just 13 batters over the final four innings, allowed seven hits and one walk while striking out nine.
The Sox played some small ball to break the game open. Leading 6-4 going into the sixth, they added three runs then another in the seventh. The sixth inning began with Hurt reaching on an error. Lambert bunted as a balk was called. He beat it out for a single so the Sox took the play putting runners at first and second. Queck also beat out a bunt for a hit, loading the bases for Wilson who drilled a two-run double. Queck scored when Justin Gaddy grounded to third.
Bryant had taken a 3-0 lead in the opening inning. Joey Winiecki beat out a bunt single, Riemenschneider reached on an error and Wells doubled to left. Another run scored when Davidson grounded out to short then Hurt’s sacrifice fly capped the inning.
A solo homer in the bottom of the inning made it 3-1 but the Sox got that back in the second when Queck singled and moved to second on an overthrow in front of Winiecki’s two-out RBI single.
Doubles by Davidson and Hurt made it 5-1 going into the bottom of the third when St. Peter’s rallied to within a run on a walk and a trio of two-out hits.
Winiecki walked, stole second, took third on Riemenschneider’s grounder to the right side then scored on Wells’ grounder to make it 6-4.
Bryant 9, Alton, Ill. 4
Riemenschneider went 3-for-3 as did Hurt who drove in four and Wilson pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief as the Sox topped their hosts.
Alex Kehrees made the start and allowed just two hits but left with the game tied 4-4. Only one of the Alton runs was earned. Wilson got out of a jam in the fourth after Alton had scored three times to tie it.
The Sox reclaimed the lead in the fifth on a clutch two-out RBI single by Hurt. Lambert followed with a triple to make it 6-4.
In the sixth, Grisham walked, advanced on a wild pitch and a passed ball then scored on Riemenschneider’s base hit to right. Wells set the final score with a home run.
Alton had led 1-0 but the Sox took the lead in the bottom of the first. Winiecki singled to center, swiped second and, after Riemenschneider was hit by a pitch, third as well. With one down, Davidson singled to center to drive him in. Hurt’s double drove in two.
The Sox made it 4-1 in the third. Riemenschneider and Wells singled and, after a doubleplay, Hurt pulled a single into left to bring in the run.
Bryant 2, Maumelle 1
In a showdown featuring two of the best teams in Arkansas, the Sox snapped a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh on a two-out, two-strike RBI single by Queck with the bases loaded. Riemenschneider had beat out an infield single to open the inning then Wells reached on a bunt after the Maumelle pitcher slipped and fell. Wells swiped second and, with one down, Hurt drew a walk. With two out, Queck drove a 2-2 pitch into center. Wells tried to follow Riemenschneider across the plate but was thrown out to end the inning.
Grisham, who had scattered four hits, struck out seven and walked just two over the first six innings, surrendered a single to start the bottom of the seventh and Wells came in to relieve. A chopper on the infield put two aboard. The Sox then turned a difficult 3-6-1 doubleplay to ease some of the tension but the tying run was at third. Wells struck out the next batter, however, to end the game and pick up his sixth save of the season.
Maumelle scored its lone run in the first on a single, a walk, a sacrifice and another hit. A second runner tried to score but got caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out.
Bryant didn’t get on the board until the fifth when Wilson smacked a ground-rule double and took third on an errant pickoff throw. Winiecki slapped a single to left to bring him home, tying it. Riemenschneider singled and, with two down, Davidson walked to load the bases but they were stranded.
Bryant 13, Brentwood, Mo. 3
Wells and Hurt each had three hits and Lambert added a double, a triple and drove in three in Bryant’s opening win. Tanner Zuber went six innings, allowing three runs, two earned, and five hits. He struck out four and walked three. Gaddy worked the seventh.
The game was tied 3-3 after three innings. The Sox scored twice in the fourth to take the lead for good and Zuber settled in.
Brentwood led 2-0 going into the third. Bryant took the lead when Riemenschneider singled and Wells walked to set the table. Davidson and Hurt each singled in a run and, after Queck was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Wilson walked to force in the go-ahead tally.
Brentwood tied it with a run in the bottom of the inning. Bryant’s fourth began with a walk to Winiecki, who stole second and scored on a one-out single by Wells. After Wells swiped second and took third on an errant throw, he was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a grounder by Davidson. But Hurt singled Davidson to third and he scored the second run from there on a wild pitch.
In the fifth, Tyler Pickett singled and Guarno, a courtesy runner for the catcher, swiped second ahead of Winiecki’s RBI single.
Lambert’s two-run triple highlighted the sixth. Queck added a sacrifice fly to make it 9-3. RBI doubles by Davidson and Lambert and RBI singles by Hurt and Wilson completed the scoring in the seventh.