Wells continues stingy mound work
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 continue 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
Justin Wells’ bid to pull a Johnny Vander Meer ended quickly on Monday, March 29.
Vander Meer (nicknamed “The Dutch Master”), a left-hander for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, from 1937 to 1951, is the only pitcher in Major League history to throw no-hitters in back-to-back starts, June 11 and 15, 1938.
Wells, coming off a no-hitter against Little Rock Catholic on Tuesday, March 23, gave up an infield hit to Nick Smith, the first Little Rock Parkview batter in the top of the first. The speedy Smith grounded into the hole where shortstop Todd Bryan made a nice back-handed play then beat Bryan’s throw to first for the single.
As it turned out, however, that was the only hit Wells surrendered in the five-inning game. The Hornets improved to 17-0 (19-0, if you count a pair of forfeits by AAAAA-Central Conference member Little Rock McClellan) with a 10-0 win which set up an early first-place showdown against 15-2 Little Rock Central at Bryant on Friday, April 2.
Wells (5-0) struck out 10 without a walk. He hit two batters, one of which was erased when catcher Dustin Easterly picked him off first, and the Hornets supported him with errorless defense.
Bryant needed only five hits to get its 10 runs thanks to six Parkview errors and five walks. In fact, the Hornets didn’t manage a hit until the third inning but, by then, they led 3-0.
Bryan Griffith snapped a 1 for 13 slump (after hitting in 10 of the team’s first 11 games) with a pair of hits.
The Hornets manufactured their first run in the home half of the opening inning. Bryan walked, swiped second, advanced to third on a fly to right by Dustin Tinkler and scored on Wells’ sacrifice fly.
In the second, walks to Richie Wood, Travis Wood and Andrew Moseley set the table. One run scored when Easterly grounded into a force at second. Bryan then made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly to center.
In the third, Griffith singled with one out and when Zack Young grounded to third, Griffith hustled all the way to third, drawing a wild return throw from first baseman Nick Scull. That allowed him to score the Hornets’ fourth run.
Parkview committed four errors in the fourth and Bryant added three more runs. With just Griffith’s third-inning single, the Hornets led 7-0.
The bats finally came to life in the fifth as the Hornets put the finishing touches on the run-rule win. Griffith instigated the uprising with his second single. After he swiped second, Richie Wood and Travis Wood cracked back-to-back triples to right center to make it 9-0. After Korey Hunter was hit by a pitch, Josh Groves ended the game with an RBI single.