Tags’ bat, arm spark Black Sox
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
When Bryant Black Sox AAA American Legion manager Craig Harrison came out to the mound to pull his pitcher in the top of the sixth inning of the Friday, July 8, game against Benton McClendon’s TV and Appliance, he told right-hander Daniel Price, “You’re done, Tags,” calling him by his nickname. Price, who had been working out of jams in just about every inning as the Sox clung to a 2-1 lead, replied (according to Harrison), “Okay, but can I still hit?”
Fortunately for the Sox, since Harrison had listed Price as the pitcher-slash-designated hitter to start the game, he could indeed still hit as the DH for his replacement on the mound, James Leigh. Because, in the bottom of the sixth, Price came through with a two-out RBI single that gave Leigh and his teammates a little cushion on the way to a 3-1 win over their rivals in the Area IV District.
It was a bounce-back win for the Sox after an 8-2 loss at Pine Bluff snapped an 11-game win streak overall and a six-game winning skein in District play.
Price went 5 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked just one while scattering seven hits. Benton left runners on base in every inning but the fifth and could only muster the one run in the fourth on a double by Matt Samples and a single by Greg Noble.
The Sox, actually, hadn’t fared much better against Benton righty Bill Masino. On the way to stranding a whopping 14 baserunners, the Sox also lost a runner at the plate. But, in the third inning, Cory Lambert came through with a bases-loaded double to provide a 2-0 lead. Aaron Davidson, who had walked and Price, who had singled, scored on the shot by Lambert that burned the center fielder.
Leigh relieved Price with one out and a man on in the sixth and proceeded to retire the next two. In the bottom of the inning, Ken Bourland relieved Masino and was greeted by Danny Riemenschneider’s single up the middle. The Sox stayed out of a doubleplay by starting Riemenschneider on an 0-1 pitch to Davidson. Benton was only able to get the out at first when Davidson bounced to short. An out later, Price tagged an 0-1 deliver for an RBI single up the middle to make it 3-1.
But Benton didn’t go quietly in the top of the seventh. Zack Pringle walked then Leigh struck out the next two before Andy Ferguson singled to left and Nick Shoptaw walked to load the bases. On the very next pitch, however, Mark Lewis skied to Todd Bryan in center to end the game.
Bryant improved to 23-6 overall and 7-1 in the league going into the final week of the season starting with a District contest at home against Little Rock Post 1 Red on Monday, July 11.