Late scoring lifts Sox past Alabama team at Classic

Photos courtesy of Paul Dotson

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Over The Mountain select team from Birmingham, Ala., out-hit the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team 12-7 today at Arlington High School as The Keith Hagan Memorial All-American Classic continued. But only one of those 12 hits for OTM was for extra bases. Bryant turned two doubleplays and threw out a potential base-stealer while pitchers Aaron Orender and Boston Heil only allowed one walk in seven innings, forcing the Alabama team to strand eight runners.

The result was a 5-2 win for the Sox, their 16th in a row, which improved them to 19-3 overall and kept them unbeaten through four games in the Classic.

This evening at 7:15 p.m., Bryant will tackle Arkansas rival Cabot as the Classic continues at Sowell Field. The Sox wrap it up on Monday at 4 p.m. against AR Pros.

Orender pitched into the sixth allowing just two runs on 11 hits with that one walk and four strikeouts. Heil relieved to get the final out of the sixth then worked a scoreless seventh for the save. He allowed just one hit and fanned three during his inning and a third.

Offensively, four of Bryant’s seven hits went for extra bases and the Sox stole seven bags along the way.

After a scoreless opening inning, Bryant got on the board in the top of the second when Dylan Hurt singled, Orender grounded into a force at second, Alex Shurtleff walked and, after Orender stole third, he and Shurtleff worked a double steal. As Shurtleff left first early and drew a throw, Orender sprinted in from third and beat the return throw.

Over The Mountain tied it in the bottom of the inning on a one-out single, a stolen base and a two out hit on a 3-0 count. Another single put men at first and second but Orender got out of the jam with his second strikeout of the frame.

The Sox were unable to take advantage of Jake East’s two-out double in the top of the third but OTM squandered a lead-off single in the home half.

Bryant was retired in order in the fourth while OTM managed a pair of one-out hits only to have Hurt, the Bryant catcher, throw out the lead man at third. Orender got the final out inducing a pop to Seth Tucker at second.

And the Sox responded at the plate. With one out in the top of the fifth, Matthew Sandidge drilled an opposite-field double, advanced to third on Christian Harp’s groundout and scored on a passed ball.

Once again, the Alabama team knotted it up in the home half with a one-out walk, steals of second and third and a sacrifice fly. A double followed but Hurt picked the runner off second to end the inning.

And Bryant responded once more. With one out in the top of the sixth, Logan Allen ripped a double to center and Hurt walked. Allen stole third and, two pitches later, Hurt stole second, drawing a throw that allowed Allen to sprint home with the go-ahead run, the second time the play had worked in the game.

OTM started the bottom of the inning with a single but the Sox turned a doubleplay. Another pair of singles followed and Heil was called upon to get the final out of the inning with two aboard. A grounder to East at short resulted in a force at second to send it to the seventh.

The Sox padded their lead. Brandon Hoover led off with a single and, with one out, Scott Schmidt lined a double to center that brought Hoover all the way around to score. Tucker lined a single to left to get Schmidt to third then East greeted a new OTM pitcher with a squeeze bunt that worked to get Schmidt in for a 5-2 lead.

Heil gave up a single on the second pitch of the bottom of the seventh but then proceeded to strike out the next three batters to close it out.


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