Bryant batters TexAr
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, BryantDaily.com will be posting 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
The Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team hammered out 31 runs on 25 hits in a convincing doubleheader sweep of the TexAr Razorbacks in Zone IV league action on Saturday, June 7, at Bryant High School Field.
The Sox eased to a 13-1 win in five innings in the opener then blew open a close game in the nightcap on the way to an 18-9 victory that improved them to 11-1 overall and 5-0 in zone games going into their annual trip to the Twin Lakes Classic, a prestigious regional tournament which Bryant has won two years in a row.
In the first game on Saturday, lefty Trent Daniel shackled the visitors on three hits over four innings, fanning eight as the Sox built a 13-0 lead. Preston Adami worked the fifth and Texarkana managed its lone run on a two-out bloop single to right.
Tyler Sawyer and David Guarno each had two hits. Sawyer drove in three and Guarno blasted a long solo homer to center — a region of the BHS field that’s seldom breached — to spark a nine-run third inning.
In the nightcap, the Sox lost a 4-0 lead when the Texarkana team put together a six-run third but a five-run fourth and nine more in the fifth made it a run-rule win as well. Sawyer, Kaleb Jobe and Daniel each had three hits with Guarno and Jonathan Wade adding two each. Daniel drove in five runs and Jobe four.
TexAr’s only threat against Daniel in the first game came in the first when a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. But the Bryant lefty fanned the next two batters to leave it that way. He allowed only one other baserunner during his stint on the mound, a lead-off single in the third that was followed by three more strikeouts. He set down 11 of the last 12 he faced.
The Sox took the lead in the first when Jobe walked and, on a hit-and-run, Tyler Pickett laced a single to right. Sawyer’s single made it 1-0. Two outs later, Michael Haydon kept the inning alive with a four-pitch walk and Drew Ransdell followed with another to force in Pickett. Justin Blankenship came through with a two-run single to cap the frame.
Guarno’s shot to start the third was followed by a walk to Jordan Knight and a change of pitchers. Michael Brown relieved starter Ross Westbrook and fanned Haydon but Ransdell singled and, after a balk moved runners to second and third, Brown unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Knight to score. Blankenship walked then Wade and Jobe followed with RBI singles. Pickett drew a free pass and Sawyer chased in a pair with a base hit to left.
That brought Guarno up again. His single loaded the bags for Knight, who drew an RBI walk. Ryan Bean relieved for Texarkana and Haydon drew another walk to bring in the ninth run of the inning before the final out was recorded.
Bryant manager Craig Harrison subbed heavily after that but, in the fifth, when Michael Milhorn greeted Adami with a single then stole second, a heated discussion began between Harrison, crouched in front of the Sox dugout and Texarkana third-base coach Reggie Thomas Sr., over the baseball etiquette of stealing bases when you’re team is down 13-0 and the other team has started to sub. Both were eventually ejected though neither moved from their spots during their debate.
After the game, Harrison related that, at one point, he heatedly informed Thomas that the Sox could beat his team by 30 if they wanted to and Thomas told him to go ahead and try. The Sox manager indicated that might come down the road but, as it turned out, his team put up more than half that amount in the five innings of the second contest.
But not before being challenged by the Razorbacks.
Bryant built a 4-0 lead initially. In the top of the first (TexAr was the home team in lieu of hosting Bryant later in the season), Pickett walked, Sawyer singled, taking second on a late throw to third aimed at retiring Pickett. Guarno’s grounder to short resulted in Sawyer being thrown out at third but Pickett scored and Guarno was aboard. He swiped second and, after Knight walked, Daniel doubled them both home with a shot to right-center making it 3-0.
In the second, Jobe walked and Pickett and Sawyer pushed him home with two-out singles.
On the mound, Sawyer had allowed just one hit but, in the third, a one-out single by Tyler Weir started a TexAr comeback. Garrett Underwood doubled then Will Wagner drilled a homer to nearly the same spot Guarno had hit his earlier.
With two down, Westbrook singled then an error extended the inning. Consecutive RBI singles by Ryan Nevels, Bean and Tyler Vaughn made it 6-4 before the third out was recorded on a relay from Knight in center to Sawyer to Pickett at third to retire Bean.
Bryant’s counter-attack in the fourth began with a one-out single by Wade and a walk to Brady Butler. Both scored when Jobe’s base hit to center was misplayed, tying it at 6.
Jobe, who wound up at third on the play, snapped the tie on Sawyer’s third hit of the game.
Guarno kept the onslaught going with a two-out single and, after a pitching change, Knight walked and Daniel slapped a single to right to drive in two more, making it 9-6.
A two-out double by Wagner and a bloop single by Brown enabled the Razorbacks to trim a run from the margin in the bottom of the inning but then the Sox blew the game up in the top of the fifth.
Wade singled and took second when the ball was misplayed in left. Butler got a sacrifice bunt down and when Wade beat the throw to third, got a sacrifice and on base too. Both scored on Jobe’s first double of the inning.
With one out, Sawyer walked and Guarno singled to load the bases for Knight who drove in two with a base hit to left. Daniel picked up his fifth RBI with his third hit and, after another pitching change, Ransdell drove in a run with a grounder to short that drew a throw to the plate that Knight beat. After Wade grounded into a force at second, Butler beat out a slow roller to short that got Daniel home and, because of a bad throw to first, allowed Wade to race home as well. With Butler at second, Jobe cracked his second two-bagger to make it 18-7.
Tim Bearden relieved for the Sox in the bottom of the inning and surrendered a single to Reggie Thomas Jr., who proceeded to steal second despite the 12-run deficit. Though no new exchange ensued, the Razorbacks managed a pair of cosmetic runs with a single by Nevels, a wild pitch and a two-out error.