Junior Sox hit and get hit in 18-1 romp
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
HOT SPRINGS — Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion right-hander Landon Pickett had pitched three innings of one-hit ball but what he wanted to talk about afterwards was the first of his two hits in the game.
There are drag bunts, squeeze bunts, and old-fashioned sacrifice bunts. Call Pickett’s a “duck” bunt.
The Sox already had the game in control, well on their way to an 18-1 romp when Pickett came to the plate to open the fourth inning. Trying to avoid being hit by a high-and-tight delivery from Lakeside reliever Garrett Gardner, Pickett ducked only to have the ball strike his bat which was still pulled back behind him. The ball rolled down the third-base line and Pickett beat it out for a single.
A nine-run inning ensued in an inning in which Bryant batters were hit by a pitches five times.
Austin Johnson relieved Pickett in the bottom of the fourth and, after an error allowed the lead-off batter to reach, he struck out the side and the game was called.
The win improved the Black Sox to 2-0 on the season going into play at a tournament to be held at Bauxite over the weekend. On Saturday, they’re scheduled to open pool play at 11:30 a.m. against Hot Springs with a game against Little Rock Continental Express at 4:30 that afternoon. On Sunday, a 6 p.m. game against Sheridan will complete pool play with the conclusion of the tournament on Monday.
Bryant took a 1-0 lead on Lakeside in the top of the first. Chris Joiner beat out an infield hit, Evan Jobe drew a walk and, with one out, so did Brady Butler to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Joiner to score.
Lakeside’s lone run and only hit came in the bottom of the inning. Daniel Hernandez was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a solid double to left-center by Taylor Parker.
Pickett struck out Spencer Bull and caught Mathew Spakes’ foul pop to end the inning. In the second, he would work around a pair of walks, fanning a pair. Lakeside went down in order in the third.
Bryant expanded the lead to 6-1 in the top of the second. Brodie Nixon reached on an error to get things started. Tyler Brown beat out an infield hit and, after both advanced on a wild pitch, Tyler Gattin slashed a single to right center to chase them both home.
Another infield hit for Joiner and a walk to Jobe loaded the bags for Caleb Milam who singled in a run. With one out and the bases still juiced, Dylan Pritchett drilled a single to left to plate a pair, capping the uprising.
In the third, Gattin drew a one-out walk and Joiner reached on an error. Another walk to Jobe loaded the bases for Milam again and he came through with a looping single to bring Gattin home. Butler followed with a pop up. The infield fly was called, meaning Butler was retired but, when Lakeside second baseman Jacob Bradshaw dropped the ball, Joiner scurried home. With Pritchett at the plate, Gardner balked in Jobe to push the lead to 9-1.
It got ugly after Pickett’s unique single in the top of the fourth. He was retired on a force at second as Nixon reached. Brown was hit by a pitch and Cameron Bird became Lakeside’s third pitcher. Gattin reached on an unsuccesful fielder’s choice as Nixon beat the play at third. With the bags packed, Joiner was hit by a pitch to pick up his first RBI of the inning.
With two down, Milam took one for the team to force in another run then Butler sliced a single to right to drive in a pair. A walk to Pritchett loaded the bases again for Pickett. This time, there was nothing cheap about his hit as he drilled a two-run double to the gap in left-center.
Matthew Spakes relieved for Lakeside and was greeted by Nixon with an RBi single. Brown was hit by a pitch for a second time in the inning and, after Pickett scored when Gattin reached on an error, Joiner was hit by a pitch for the second time in the inning and, for the second time, it forced in a run setting the final score.