Will McEntire struck out 10 in four innings while giving up four hits and an unearned run and Cade Drennan added three frames of shutout relief as the Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion team pinned an 8-1 loss on Cabot Centennial Bank on Wednesday at Bryant High School Field.
Manager Tyler Brown had a full-stocked team for the game after playing a doubleheader at Russellville on Tuesday with only nine players available and two pitchers. They suffered a pair of run-rule losses.
But Wednesday’s contest went much better as the team geared up for the Keith Hagan Memorial All-American Classic in Memphis this weekend. The Junior Sox will be playing in the 17U division. The Bryant Senior Legion team will play in the 18U Division stating June 30.
Against Cabot, the Black Sox broke open a 2-1 game with a four-run fourth then tacked on with single runs in the fifth and the sixth.
McEntire struck out each of Cabot’s nine starters and doubled up on two-hole hitter Jackson Olivi.
Konnor Clontz had three hits — two of them well-placed infield knocks — and drove in a pair of runs. Jake Wright smacked two doubles, walked and had a sacrifice, Logan Catton had two RBIs and Drennan was on base all four plate appearances with a single and three walks.
The game started with Cabot’s Graham Turner getting hit by a 2-2 pitch from McEntire. But the big right-hander eased through the next three batters, fanning two.
The Sox took the lead in the bottom of the inning, which started with Wright’s first two-bagger down the line in left. He advanced to third on a wild pitch but was still there with two down. Drennan worked a walk then Clontz popped a check-swing to no-man’s land between first and second. Cabot pitcher Brock Marton got to it but his late throw to first was errant. Wright scored and runners wound up at second and third. A walk to Peyton Dillon loaded the bases and a free pass to Brayden Lester forced in the second run.
In the second, McEntire pitched out of a bases-loaded jam. A one-out single to right by Martin got the threat started. An error that allowed Mason Wade to reach and a two-out walk to Collin Hines filled them up with the top of the order in Turner coming to the plate. McEntire struck him out to keep it 2-0.
Ryan Lessenberry led off Bryant’s second with a solid single to center but the Sox were unable to get to Martin.
In the third, McEntire retired the first two then surrendered a single to Logan Bell. An error allowed Blake Buffalo to get on but, once again, McEntire ended the threat right there with another strikeout.
Drennan led off the bottom of the inning with a single, stole second and reached third on Christian Motes’ groundout but Jake Moudy, on in relief of Martin, got out of the inning.
Cabot got its run in the fourth while McEntire was striking out the side for the second time. After the first punch-out, Moudy doubled inside the right-field line. After the second strikeout, Turner beat out an infield hit on a little pop up that fell between the mound and second base. With Olivi at the plate, Turner left first early and drew a throw. Catton, the Bryant second baseman, ran Olivi back to first after checking to make sure Moudy wasn’t headed home from third. He ran him back to first but his throw got away as Turner got back to first safely and Moudy took off and scored.
McEntire fanned Olivi to send it to the bottom of the fourth.
To lead off, McEntire reached on an error that could’ve been ruled a bad-hop single. Courtesy runner Jarod Yarborough stole second before Lessenberry worked a walk. Jacob Coppock came on as a courtesy runner for the catcher before Wright drilled his second double, a gapper to left-center. Yarborough scored and Coppock reached third. Catton singled him in to make it 4-1.
With Coby Greiner at the plate, Moudy unleashed a wild pitch. Wright scored and Catton hustled all the way to third. From there, he scored on Greiner’s sacrifice fly to deep left.
Drennan relieved McEntire in the top of the fifth and retired the side on just eight pitches.
In the bottom of the inning, Yarborough walked with one out, Coppock singled and Wright was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Catton grounded into a force at third but got an RBI as Yarborough scored.
In the sixth, Drennan set down the first two Cabot batters before issuing a walk to Moudy. Will Camplain’s tapper to third drew an errant throw to first so he reached but, moments later, Turner hit a foul pop that Lester went to the fence from third and reached into the Bryant bullpen to make the catch, ending the inning.
Drennan led off the bottom of the sixth with his third walk. On an errant pickoff throw, he got to second. He went to third on a wild pitch and scored when Clontz yanked a single into left.
Olivi opened the Cabot seventh with a single, taking second on a wild pitch. Drennan got Hunter Price to foul out to Dillon at first then Bell legged out an infield single to get Olivi to third.
But Buffalo hit a pop up that Drennan caught and Martin struck out to end the game.
In Memphis, the Sox, now 12-9, are scheduled to play twice on Friday, weather permitting. At 10 a.m., they’ll take on Legends Baseball. At 4 p.m., they’ll play Team East.