Beard, Bryant AA blanks Pine Bluff
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By ROB PATRICK
PINE BLUFF — The Bryant Blacksox AA American Legion team turned four doubleplays in a five-inning game to help right-hander Aaron Beard shut out Pine Bluff Kell Athletics on four hits in an 8-0 win at Taylor Field on Thursday, June 10.
Even in the one inning that the Sox, now 11-5, didn’t make a twin-killing, they turned in splendid defensive plays behind Beard who walked four and struck out three in the game.
And offensively, the Sox produced, pounding out 11 hits including three each by Casey Grisham and David Martin. John Newman blasted a two-run homer along the way.
The hit parade began right away. After Danny Reimenschneider was hit by a pitch and Devin Hurt walked Grisham singled up the middle to drive in a run. With one out, Aaron Davidson singled to load the bases for Zach Sanders who came through with a two-run single to center. Martin then capped the inning with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
Beard walked the first man he faced in the bottom of the inning but the Sox turned a nifty 6-4-3 doubleplay to erase the base runner. That probably saved the shutout at that point because Reggie Lee followed with a long double.
But then Lee was retired as he tried to steal third when Davidson, the Bryant catcher, gunned him down.
In the second inning, Reimenschneider walked to lead things off. Hurt sacrificed him to second but he was still there with two away. Newman followed and, on a 1-2 count, blasted a homer over the wall in left.
In the bottom of the inning, Tyler Threlkeld singled with one out then Beard issued a walk. That brought up John Neal. But Beard struck Neal out as Threlkeld broke for third. Again Davidson was equal to the challenge as the Sox pulled off a strike-em-out, throw-em-out doubleplay.
Again in the third, a Bryant doubleplay erased a lead-off single to deflate a threat.
After the Sox loaded the bases but didn’t score in the top of the fourth, Beard struck out Lee then center fielder Zach Kellum sprinted back to rob Josh Hazelwood of an extra base hit. Mark Cain followed with a shot to third that was speared by Martin who threw him out at first to end the inning in eye-popping fashion.
In the fifth, the Sox put the finishing touches on the run-rule win. Martin and Beard singled to open the inning. After a pitching change, Gaston Youngblood got a sacrifice bunt down then Reimenschneider delivered a two-run single up the middle.
In the bottom of the inning, an error gave Pine Bluff hope. But, again, the Sox came up with a big play as Neal hit a liner at the feet of Beard, who snatched it off his shoetops and threw to first to double off pinch-runner Ike McPherson.
A walk and a single followed but Beard struck out Justin Webb to end the game and leave them stranded.