FORT SMITH — But for a couple of innings late in the first game, the Bryant Black Sox 17U Junior American Legion team pitching staff shut out two opponents as they wrapped up play in a four-game event at Fort Smith’s Forsgren Park on Sunday.
The two innings cost them a sweep of their four contests. The Texarkana Junior Razorbacks rallied to forge a 5-5 tie in the first game on Sunday but the Sox came back to blank Elite Athletic Performance (EAP) 18U of Benton, 8-0.
The results improved the Black Sox to 3-1-1 this season, going into a doubleheader at Sheridan on Tuesday.
Will Hathcote pitched a three-hit shutout over five innings in the win over EAP. The Sox only managed two hits but benefitted from nine walks and two errors.
In the opener, Logan White worked five innings, allowing three runs, one earned, on three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Bryant 8, EAP 0
The Sox scored three runs in the first and five in the third. Gavin Burton had a double and Ryan Riggs singled to account for the Sox’ only hits.
Jaden Woolbright accounted for two of EAP’s hits as Hathcote walked just two and fanned five.
Walks to Lawson Speer and White started the game. Riggs beat out a bunt single to load the bases then J.T. Parker drew an RBI walk. Burton made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly. Caleb Greiner, running for Riggs, sprinted home when Conner Martin grounded out.
EAP started the bottom of the first with a walk and a single but Hathcote retired the next three, striking out two.
Neither team got anything going into the second but, in the third, a one-out walk to Parker and Burton’s double set the table for another big inning. Parker scored on Martin’s grounder to short. Colby Morrow’s grounder to short was booted allowing Burton to score to make it 5-0.
An error on Jaxon Ham’s grounder put runners at first and second before Luke Dreher drew a walk to load the bases. After a pitching change, Speer worked a free pass that force in Morrow.
A walk to White made it 7-0 then Dreher was awarded home on a balk.
A single to start the bottom of the third was erased when the Sox turned a doubleplay on a comebacker to the mound with one out.
In the fourth, a lead-off single and a two-out walk created a threat for EAP but both runners were stranded. Hathcote worked around a one-out error in the bottom of the fifth to close out the game.
Bryant 5, Texarkana 5
White pitched four shutout innings before running into trouble in the fifth. Hayden Thompson and Tyler Bates finished the game for Bryant.
The Sox took a 2-0 lead in the first when White and Riggs walked. They moved to second and third on Parker’s grounder to third then walks to Martin and Burton produced the first run. And when Hathcote’s grounder to third was misplayed, it was 2-0.
In the second, Jordan Knox led off with a double on a liner to left. He moved to third on Speer’s grounder. On an errant throw, Knox sprinted home and a second error allowed Speer to follow to make it 4-0.
Walks to Riggs and Parker forced a pitching change and, after a double steal, Riggs scored from third on Martin’s grounder to the right side.
Texarkana didn’t manage its first hit until one was out in the bottom of the third. It followed a walk. But White struck out the next batter and the threat ended on a groundout to Morrow at first.
White singled with one out in the top of the fourth, took second on a passed ball and third when Riggs’ grounder to short was misplayed. But the Sox were unable to cash in.
The Razorbacks were retired in order in the bottom of the fourth with White striking out a pair. In the top of the fifth, Morrow’s two-out double came to naught.
A one-out walk, a single and an error loaded the bases for Texarkana in the bottom of the fifth. An infield hit produced the first run then White issued a walk for force in a second tally. He followed with a clutch strikeout. A grounder to Martin at short resulted in a force at second to end the uprising.
Bryant loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with, with two down, White singled, Riggs was struck by a 3-1 pitch and Parker drew a walk. Martin came through with another groundball but this time, it was with two away and it ended the inning.
A catcher’s interference call opened the bottom of the sixth. Thompson relieved and issued a walk. The next batter got a sacrifice bunt down and when it was misplayed, a run scored to make it 5-3.
A stolen base and a passed ball produced another run. Bates relieved and got a force at third on a bunt back to the mound.
A single, however, tied the game before Bates finished the inning and the contest with a pair of strikeouts, stranding the potential winning run at second.
The time limit forced the conclusion of the game at that point.