Sears pitches Junior Sox to 17U championship at Classic

FAYETTEVILLE — Blaine Sears held the Sandlot 16U travel team to just one run on six hits while striking out eight and walking no one in a complete game victory as the Bryant Black Sox 17U American Legion team captured the championship of their division of the Chad Wolffe Classic at Baum-Walker Stadium today.

The 6-1 victory was keyed by a three-hit game for Ryan Riggs. Lawson Speer had two knocks and Noah Davis delivered a bases-loaded triple in the top of the seventh to break open a 3-1 game.

Now 18-3 on the season, the Junior Sox are set to play at Sheridan on Tuesday.

Bryant threatened to score in the first when, with two out, Peyton Dillon and Riggs singled. J.T. Parker was hit by a pitch, but Sandlot got a strikeout to end the threat.

Sears and the Sox defense retired 12 of the first 15 Sandlot batters over the first four innings. He worked around a one-out single in the second, then again in the third. A two-out single went for naught in the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Sox staked out a 3-0 lead. In the top of the third, Speer drew a lead-off walk and Davis sacrificed him to second. With two down, Riggs’ double got Bryant on the board. With Hayden Thompson running for Riggs, J.T. Parker beat out an infield hit, and Will Hathcote made it 2-0 with an RBI single to left.

In the fourth, Speer singled with one out and stole second. When Dillon’s fly to left was dropped, it was 3-0.

Tyler Bates and Dakota Clay each singled with one out in the fifth. But Bates was thrown out trying to steal third before Sears drew a walk. Speer singled to fill the sacks, but a pop out ended the threat.

Sandlot used a pair of singles and a groundout to get on the board in the bottom of the fifth but stranded a runner at second when Sears ended the inning with a strikeout. He would pitch around another two-out single in the bottom of the sixth before the Sox broke the game open.

There were two out when the uprising began. Clay worked a walk then so did Sears and Speer to load the bases. Davis worked the count to 3-2 then shot a liner to left for the three-run triple.

A pair of lineouts, one to Hathcote at first, the other to Clay at second preceded the game-ending strikeout.

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