Junior Sox forge much-needed win behind Catton
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SHERIDAN — Logan Catton limited the Sheridan Taylor & Lunsford Yellowjackets Junior American Legion team to just two runs on four hits over five innings while he and the Bryant Black Sox Junior team piled up a 9-2 lead on Wednesday night at Oliver Williams Field.
Sheridan rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh but, with the tying run at the plate, Peyton Dillon got the final out for a save as the Jackets captured a much-needed victory.
Now 14-14 going into a Friday doubleheader at Arkadelphia and a Saturday twinbill at Texarkana to wrap up the regular season, the Junior Sox came into Wednesday’s game having lost 11 of their last 14 games, five of their last six.
Konnor Clontz and River Holland each had two hits in the game for Bryant. Zion Collins knocked in a pair of runs as did Clontz, whose two-out, two-run double in the top of the sixth proved to be the difference.
Catton allowed one hit over three shutout innings to start the game.
A four-run burst in the top of the first helped the Sox. Walks to Clontz and Catton started the uprising. Coby Greiner got a bunt down trying to sacrifice but placed it so well, it resulted in a hit. With one out and the bags packed, Dillon stroked an RBI single to right and Collins spanked an RBI single to left.
Greiner scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0 and when Dillon headed to third on the play, an errant throw allowed him to score as well. Ryan Lessenberry drew a free pass and Sheridan changed pitchers. Alex Calaway relieved starter Layne Traylor and got a strikeout to end the inning.
Catton pitched around an error and a two-out walk in the bottom of the inning.
In the top of the second, Clontz, who was on base five times in the contest, drew another lead-off walk. Catton’s shot at third was misplayed and got into leftfield. Clontz tried to make it to third but was thrown out as Catton alertly advanced to second.
Greiner drew a free pass and Jake Wright was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two down, Collins worked a walk to force in Catton, making it 5-0.
Despite another error and a one-out single by Traylor, Catton kept the Jackets off the board in the home second. After the Sox were denied in the top of the third, the Bryant right-hander retired the side in order in the home half.
With Heath Alexander on as the third Sheridan pitcher, Wright walked and Dillon was plunked. The duo worked a double-steal and another errant throw to third allowed Wright to score before Alexander set down the next three batters, two on strikes.
Trailing 6-0, Sheridan broke through for two in the bottom of the fourth. Calaway singled and Logan Mitchell beat out a bunt hit to set the table for Alexander who doubled in both. A courtesy runner came in for Alexander and promptly got caught trying to steal. Lessenberry’s throw got the third way before the runner, who decided to try to get back to second only to have Dillon, the third baseman relay to Holland at second for the out.
Catton retired the next two, getting his third strikeout.
Bryant tacked on again in the fifth when Holland singled on a looping liner to center, stole second and, after Clontz walked for a third time, stole third. Once more, the throw to third was errant allowing Holland to score.
For Sheridan, lead-off man Montana Korte received just the second walk allowed by Catton. With one out, he got to second on an errant on a force attempt as Dalton Domrase reached. But Lessenberry threw out Korte trying to steal third and Hadyn Finley flew to Wright in left to end the threat.
In the top of the sixth, Alexander retired the first two batters but it would take him a while to get the third out as Lessenberry and Holland stroked back-to-back singles and Clontz drove them both home with a double into the gap in left-center.
Sheridan’s rally in the bottom of the sixth began with a triple by Calaway. Mitchell singled him home but was forced at second on Alexander’s grounder to short. Traylor beat out an infield hit and acting manager Ozzie Hurt called on Clontz to provide Catton with well-earned relief.
He got T.J. Kinnard to fly to Greiner in center only to have Korte and Nathan Kirkpatrick followed with back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 9-6.
Dillon got the call at that point and appeared to have the third out with a grounder to second off the bat of Domrase but an errant throw allowed Kirkpatrick to score and Domrase to make it to second.
The next batter was the clean-up hitter Finley but Dillon got him to tap out to Catton at first to end it, earning a save.