Junior Sox land bid to State tourney with win over Lake Hamilton
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting 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
SHERIDAN — The Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion team had to wait a[more] long time to play then had to wait a long time to win.
But win they did and, with the 16-3 decision over Lake Hamilton in the second round of the Zone 4 Junior tournament, the Sox not only advanced to the winners bracket finals but secured one of the three bids from the Zone to the Junior State Tournament, which will be held back in Sheridan starting this weekend.
Bryant will play Hot Springs Lakeside on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., with a spot in the tourney finals on the line. The loser will have to get by the survivor of the losers bracket to reach the finals where they’ll have to win twice to capture the Zone crown.
The Sox were set to play at 1:30 p.m., but not only did Lakeside’s 11-8 win over Little Rock Post 1 Blue take a while to complete, a shortage of help on the Independence Day holiday left two or three workers trying to prepare both fields at the Sheridan Park. Because Genoa Central’s win eliminating Little Rock Continental Express on Field 2 finished first, work began on the that field and had to be completed before they could begin on Field 1 where Lake Hamilton and Bryant were preparing to play.
So the two teams had to wait.
The Sox then built a 12-0 lead through four innings. Three outs away from a run-rule win, a storm blew up. At first, the field was emptied because of lightning then the rains commenced 15 minutes later.
After the shower subsided, there was a delay because of the concern of the continuation of the lightning in the distance and the radar (checked on smart phones) showing plenty more rain in the area.
The teams and umpires finally returned to the field for three batters. Lake Hamilton got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs then hard rain forced the teams to the dugouts again. This time, the delay was brief and play resumed.
But another hit gave Lake Hamilton three in the inning and whittled the lead to nine runs, forcing another inning.
The Sox pushed in four more runs in the sixth then Marcus Wilson who had started, stopped, started again, stopped again then finished the fifth, worked around an error and a walk to nail down the win.
“The guys did a good job of keeping their concentration,” commented Sox manager Jimmy Parker. “They knew what we wanted to do. We slipped up there in the fifth and let them extend it another inning but we came right back out and started hitting it again. We hit it well. We’ve hit well the last two days. If we keep doing that, we’ll be all right.
“This past week, they’ve been focused,” he noted. “They’re back to where they were at the beginning of the year. They’re buying in and doing the team thing. Today, they stuck with it and they knew what they wanted. They wanted to go ahead and get qualified today (for State), not have to worry about it. We told them, win today and we’ll worry about winning the tournament starting tomorrow.”
Tryce Schalchlin was the winning hurler, improving to 5-1 on the season for the 15-3-1 Sox. He worked four innings allowing only a pair of scratch hits (both scored very tough errors by the scorekeeper), two walks, and a hit batsman while striking out six.
“He’s done that all year long,” Parker mentioned. “When he comes out and throws up zeroes on the scoreboard, we’ve got a shot every night. And he does that every time he goes out.”
Schalchlin lowered his earned run average for the season to a miniscule 1.12 over seven appearances and 37 2/3 innings.
Offensively, the Sox cracked 15 hits including three by Cody Gogus, including a long three-run homer into the wind and a two-run double. Zach Graddy also had three hits, driving in three. Korey Thompson and Schalchlin had two hits each. In all, nine of the 11 Bryant players that got into the game hit safely.
The Sox staked a 6-0 lead in the second. Chase Tucker walked then Graddy, attempting to sacrifice, popped up his bunt. Lake Hamilton pitcher Kyle Jessie rushed in and dove to try to catch the ball in the air but came up just short. He was unable to get up and to the ball in time and Graddy had a bunt single.
Trevor Ezell followed with a perfect bunt down the third-base line with Larry Bearden, the Lake Hamilton third sacker, playing back.
With the sacks juiced, Daniel Richards worked a walk for an RBI then Tyler Green shot a single through the middle, knocking in two and hustling to second on the throw to the cutoff man.
Thompson followed with yet another bunt, this time perfectly executing the squeeze play. Richards scored. Wilson followed with a bouncer to short. Nathan Sawrie charged the ball as Green sprinted towards home. Instead of taking the sure out at first, Sawrie tried to cut off the run at the plate. His throw was not only late but high, making it 5-0.
Gogus singled and, after Chris Eastburn relieved for Lake Hamilton, Schalchlin greeted the new hurler with a bouncer into left field for an RBI single.
Schalchlin walked a pair in the bottom of the second but fanned the side along the way to keep it 6-0.
Bryant increased the margin to 11-0 in the top of the third. Richards slapped a single to right, advanced on a grounder to second by Green and third when Thompson’s grounder to short was booted. With two down, Thompson tried to break early and get into a rundown so that Richards might score. But Lake Hamilton played it well enough to prevent the run scoring. Only a nice slide into second by Thompson kept him from being tagged out.
Moments later, Gogus unloaded for his second homer in the last week, increasing the advantage to 9-0.
Walks to Schalchlin and Tucker kept the inning going for Graddy who shot a liner down the right-field line for a two-run double, capping the uprising.
Schalchlin retired the first two in the bottom of the inning then Bearden slapped one back at him. The right-hander got a glove on the ball and deflected it towards Ezell at short. With a full tilt charge, Ezell got to the ball but his throw to first was in the dirt and Richards couldn’t hang onto it.
Eastburn was hit by a pitch but Schalchlin got Jessie to bounce into a force to end the inning.
Blain Jackson who had been out all season with a knee injury until the last week or so, led off the fourth for Bryant and was hit by a pitch. He was forced at second on a grounder to third by Green. And when the relay to first was wild, Green advanced to second. He stole third and, after Thompson walked, a wild pitch by Caleb Marsh the third Lake Hamilton pitcher, brought Green home with the 12th run.
Wilson took over on the mound for the Sox in the bottom of the inning and got Alec Young to pop up on the infield only to have Gogus at third and Ezell at short play “I-got-it-you-take-it” as the ball dropped cleanly. Mason Chapmond then slapped a single to right, the first solid hit of the game for Lake Hamilton.
With an 0-1 count on Bearden, the first and longest of the delays commenced as the dark clouds produced lightning. When play finally resumed, Wilson struck out Bearden. But Eastburn singled to load the bases and Jessie drove in a run with a base hit to left. Graddy, the Sox catcher, picked off Chapmond at third but, after a rundown, the Lake Hamilton baserunner was able to slide around a tag and score to make it 12-2.
After another, briefer delay, Trent Curry singled in Eastburn to provide the run that would send the game to the sixth as Lake Hamilton avoided the run-rule at least for the moment.
A nifty play by Thompson at second, fielding a bounce off the glove of Wilson, tagging Curry and throwing to first for the doubleplay, ended the inning.
Thompson then hit a humpbacked liner to left with one out in the sixth. The ball fell in front of Curry’s diving attempt and ricocheted off his glove towards center. Thompson hustled into second with a double then took third on a single to left by Wilson. Gogus followed with a blast to the fence in right-center that chased both runners home.
Zach Cambron’s two-out RBI single made it 15-4 and, after Cambron took second on an error, he scored the final run on Graddy’s third hit.
Wilson retired the first two in the bottom of the inning then Young reached on catcher interference and Chapmond walked. But Wilson struck out Bearden to bring the long afternoon to an end.
BRYANT 16, LAKE HAMILTON 3
Junior American Legion
Zone 4 Tournament winners bracket
Black Sox ab r h bi Lake Hamilton ab r h bi
Green, cf 5 2 1 2 Chapmond, 2b-ss 3 1 1 0
Thompson, 2b 3 2 2 1 Bearden, 3b-1b 4 0 1 0
Wilson, lf-p 5 2 1 0 Eastburn, cf-p 2 1 1 0
Gogus, 3b 4 2 3 5 Jessie, p-3b 3 0 1 1
Schalchlin, p-lf 4 1 2 1 Curry, 1b-lf 2 0 2 1
Tucker, rf 1 2 0 0 Sawrie, ss 1 0 0 0
Cambron, rf 1 1 1 1 Thomas, rf 2 0 0 0
Graddy, c 4 1 3 3 Marsh, lf-cf-p 2 0 0 0
Ezell, ss 5 1 1 0 Faught, c 3 0 0 0
Richards, 1b 1 2 1 1 Young, rf-2b 3 1 0 0
Totals 34 16 15 14 Totals 25 3 6 2
BRYANT 065 104 — 16
Lake Hamilton 000 030 — 3
E—Sawrie 3, Young, Gogus, Thomas, Graddy. DP—Bryant 1. LOB—Bryant 9, Lake Hamilton 9. 2B—Graddy, Thompson, Gogus. HR—Gogus. SB—Thompson, Green, Chapmond, Wilson. S—Thompson.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Schalchlin (W) 4 0 0 2 2 6
Wilson 2 3 2 4 1 2
Jessie (L) 1.1 7 6 5 3 1
Eastburn 1.2 5 0 4 3 2
Marsh 3 4 4 6 1 3
HBP—Eastburn (by Schalchlin), Jackson, Cambron (by Marsh). WP—Jessie, Eastburn, Marsh 2.