Paragould snaps tie in top of seventh and holds on to trip Junior Sox

SHERIDAN — The Paragould Glen Sain Junior American Legion team, fresh from an upset championship at the Zone 2 District tournament, snapped a 2-2 tie with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh then held on for a 4-2 win over the Bryant Black Sox in the State tourney opener on Friday.

In a pitcher's duel between Bryant's Landon Pickett and Paragould's Alex Markam, Glen Sain put together three hits in the seventh including an RBI double by Tanner Murray and an RBI single by Dayton Flannery to snap the tie. Pickett came back to retire the next two batters to keep it 4-2.[more]

In the bottom of the inning, Chris Joiner cracked a one-out single up the middle and advanced to second on a groundout to third by Lucas Castleberry. Dylan Pritchett's base hit to left pushed Joiner to third with Pickett, the Sox' top RBI man at the plate. After Pickett fouled off a 1-2 pitch, he took ball two outside. But Paragould first baseman Colby Lovelace snuck in behind pinch-runner Reese O'Rourke and took a throw from Murray, the catcher, for a pickoff that ended the game.

"We just didn't hit the ball," said manager Brad Chism, noting his team had just five hits. "Two of them in the last inning. Pickett threw well, well enough to win but we just didn't hit the ball. We had guys in scoring position, we just couldn't get them in.

"(Markam) had a good off-speed pitch," he added. "I think it was a slider. We just couldn't hit it. He'd lead us off with a fastball and we had to fight from behind. But he had pretty good command of it."

Markam struck out six, walked three and hit a batter.

The loss was Bryant's third in a row. At 17-11-1, they were set to play Sylvan Hills on Saturday in an elimination game.

Paragould took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a solo homer by Hayden McMill. But the Sox got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Joiner's drive to left was misplayed and, after he moved up on Castleberry's fly to right, he scored on a sacrifice fly by Pritchett. Pickett singled and took second on a wild pitch but was stranded.

It stayed even through four innings. Bryant's best chance to snap the tie was in the bottom of the fourth when, with one out, Caleb Milam was hit by a pitch and reached second on a wild pitch. But he was tagged out trying to get to third on Evan Jobe's grounder to short then Brodie Nixon's grounder to short led to a force at second to end the inning.

In the fifth, Alex Burroughs led off with a single for Paragould. An infield hit by Chance Sugg and a sacrifice bunt by McMill put runners at second and third. Murray singled in the run but a doubleplay, precipitated by an interference call, ended the inning.

In the home half of the inning, Tyler Brown singled, was sacrificed to second by Blake Davidson, took third on a grounder to the right side by Joiner but was stranded when Markam got Castleberry to sky to center.

Pickett surrendered a walk and a single to start the sixth but struck out the side to strand runners at second and third. And the Sox rallied to tie in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Pickett and Milam drew walks. With two down, Nixon came through in the clutch with an RBI single. But, with runners at the corners, Markam ended the threat with a strikeout.

Sugg singled and was sacrificed to second by McMill to start the seventh. Murray's double made it 3-2 then Flannery's single on a 1-2 delivery made it 4-2. 

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