By Rob Patrick
Tryce Schalchlin and Ozzie Hurt combined on a one-hitter and the Bryant Black Sox scored a lot[more] late to turn a 2-1 lead into an 8-1 victory over Benton McClendon’s Tuesday night in the final home game of the season.
The pitching duo was part of the group of 19-year-olds who were honored with their parents before the game as they played at Bryant High School Field for the final time. Schalchlin and Hurt were joined by Tyler Nelson, Marcus Wilson, Hayden Daniel, and Cody Gogus.
Though the game was a league contest, it did not have any impact on the seeding for this weekend’s Zone 4 District Tournament in Sheridan. Bryant, now 31-3-1 overall, earned the top seed and a first-round bye at the double-elimination tourney. The Sox will play Saturday against the winner of the first-round game between Benton and Sheridan on Friday.
Benton used the opportunity to get four of its pitchers on the mound, Wesley Ramsey, Trey Bishop, Hunter Wray and Alex Wilcox.
Schalchlin, the closer for the Sox during their 2012 run to the State championship, struck out eight without a walk. He hit a batter in the second but had a no-hitter until Jack James led off the fourth with a solid single up the middle. Bunts by Bishop and Wray moved James to third. Bryant third baseman Trevor Ezell made a nice play on a ball hit by the next batter, Ramsey, but his rushed throw was off line. Gogus came off the bag to snag it and try to make a tag for the out but when he applied the tag on Ramsey, the ball flew out of his glove as James scored the lone Benton run.
Schalchlin finished his five-inning stint on the mound by retiring the last four he faced the Hurt set down six in a row to close it out.
“Both of them are going to be key this weekend at the District,” stated Bryant manager Darren Hurt. “Our pitching has been solid. No matter who we throw up there — we go five or six deep — they all give us quality innings and it wasn’t any different tonight.
“Shack was key tonight because we’re looking to put Shack back in a starting role,” he continued. “He hasn’t done as well at closer as he did last year but when I start him, he’s been great. We’re looking to switching that up a little bit and that’s why I wanted to give him the start tonight.”
Earlier this month, Schalchlin went the distance in the Sox’ win in the finals of the Firecracker Classic in Alton, Ill.
Coming off a narrow 4-3 win over Sheridan on Monday, the Sox grabbed a 2-0 lead then the bats were silent in the next three innings. Leading just 2-1, they broke the game open with four in the fifth.
“We’ve just got to get ready for this weekend offensively,” Hurt said. “It’s been a short season with a lot of games. It’s going to help us to have a couple of days off. The bye is huge because fatigue has kind of set in on us a little bit. We’ve got to get freshened up for this weekend. They’ll be ready to go. They’ll come out fired up.”
The two-run first began with Ezell getting plunked, a glancing blow off his helmet, on the first pitch of the game from Ramsey. He moved up to second when James made a sparkling play at short to retire Ozzie Hurt. Wilson followed with a shot to left-center for an RBI single, taking second on a late throw to the plate.
Nelson spanked a single to left to put runners at first and third then swiped second to get into scoring position for Chase Tucker who hit a grounder to short. James’ throw to third retired Nelson but Wilson scored to make it 2-0.
The Sox were retired in succession in the bottom of the second then Bishop set them down in the third. Tucker was hit by a pitch and Gogus walked in the fourth but Bishop worked out of the jam.
Korey Thompson ended the drought with the first of his two hits, a single up the middle. Ezell did the same. Hurt tried to get a sacrifice bunt down but Wray made a nifty bare-handed play and fired to third for a force.
With Wilson at the plate, Ezell and Hurt worked a double steal and when Wilson was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded. Nelson then walked to force in a run and Tucker lashed a single to right to get Hurt home. Wilson tried to get there too but a nice throw from McDade in right was in time for catcher Shawn Beesley to get the tag on him for the second out.
Hayden Daniel walked then Gogus shot a one-hopper that went through the wickets of James at short, Nelson and Tucker scored to make it 6-1.
Thompson’s second hit was a hump-back liner that fell out of the reach of James, who made a diving attempt in front of second base. On the very next pitch, Ezell blasted a drive to the fence in right-center for a triple. He would score on a two-out pinch-hit double to left by Hayden Lessenberry.
BRYANT 8, BENTON 1
McClendon's ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Lewis, cf 3 0 0 0 Ezell, 3b-ss 3 3 2 1
James, ss 3 1 1 0 Hurt, ss-p 3 1 0 0
Bishop, 3b-p-1b 2 0 0 0 Wilson, lf 3 1 1 1
Wray, 1b-p-2b 2 0 0 0 Nelson, dh-1b 2 1 1 1
Ramsey, p-3b 3 0 0 0 Lessenberry, 1b 1 0 1 1
Beesley, c 2 0 0 0 Tucker, rf 3 1 1 2
Turbyfill, lf 2 0 0 0 Daniel, cf 2 0 0 0
Wilcox, p 0 0 0 0 Gogus, 1b 2 0 0 0
Massey, 2b-rf 2 0 0 0 Caldwell, pr-3b 0 0 0 0
McDade, rf-lf 2 0 0 0 Graddy, c 3 0 0 0
Thompson, 2b 3 1 2 0
Schalchlin, p 0 0 0 0
Totals 21 1 1 0 Totals 26 8 8 6
Benton 000 100 0 — 1
Bryant 200 042 x — 8
E—Ezell, James. LOB—Benton 2, Bryant 6. 2B—Lessenberry. 3B—Ezell. SB—Beesley, Tucker, Ezell, Hurt. S—Bishop, Wray.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Ramsey (L) 2 2 2 2 0 0
Bishop 2 0 0 0 1 3
Wray 1 4 2 3 2 0
Wilcox 1 2 2 3 0 0
Schalchlin (W) 5 1 0 1 0 8
Hurt (S) 2 0 0 0 0 3
HBP—Beesley (by Schalchlin), Ezell (by Ramsey), Tucker (by Bishop), Wilson (by Wray).