Photos courtesy of Sandy Orender
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — In many baseball showcase events, when a game ends in a tie, it stays a tie. There are no extra innings. That’s one of the frustrations of playing in them. In the East Cobb, Ga., Perfect Game Invitational, though they didn’t finish in ties, they used a form of the international tiebreaker rule to decide them. Instead of started each extra inning with a player at second, like they do in high school softball or the World Baseball Classic, however, extra innings begin with the bases loaded.
So, when the Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion team and the Tennessee Xplosion travel team fought to a scoreless deadlock to open bracket play in the event, the top of the eighth began with the bases loaded for Bryant with one out. Unfortunately, the first two batters for the Sox struck out to end the inning. In the home half, the Tennessee team started with the bases loaded and one out. They won it when the first batter blooped a single to left.
Coby Greiner had pitched six innings of shutout ball, scattering seven hits, walking one, hitting a batter and striking out eight. Cade Drennan worked a scoreless seventh. He struck out the first two he faced then surrendered a single and a walk before getting the third out on a fly to Greiner in center.
The Sox were held to just one hit in the game, a one-out single by Logan Chambers in the top of the sixth.
That inning proved to be Bryant’s best shot to score. Chambers’ infield knock came after Konnor Clontz had earned a one-out walk. After a pitching change, Jake Wright drew a free pass to load the bases. But Greiner hit a sharp grounder that was fielded by the Tennessee second baseman, starting an inning-ending doubleplay.
Tennessee made a bid to score in the bottom of the first, which started with a single and a hit batsman. But Greiner fanned the next two and ended the inning by inducing a fly to Brayden Lester in right.
Logan Catton managed a walk in the top of the second but was stranded. In the fourth, Wright and Catton drew free passes but the Sox were unable to take advantage.
Meanwhile, Greiner worked around a two-out double in the second, a two-out single in the third and again in the fourth. In the fifth, a pair of singles around a strikeout produced a Tennessee threat but Greiner got the second out on a pop to Clontz at short and a fly to Cade Dupree in left.
In the sixth, a two-out single and a walk but Greiner under the gun but he got the final out on a pop to Catton at second.
The Junior Sox, now 4-1 on the season, are set to play the Cabot Junior team on Wednesday, June 7 before playing in the Mid American Junior Tournament at UALR starting Thursday.