SHERIDAN — The Bryant Black Sox and Sheridan Yellowjackets Senior American Legion teams took turns[more] putting together big innings late. Both proved decisive as they teams split their Zone 4 doubleheader at Oliver Williams Field Wednesday night.
In the opener, Bryant appeared to be on the way to victory with a 9-5 lead when Sheridan erupted for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to overtake the Sox. Lefty reliever Luke Nannemann kept Bryant off the board in the top of the seventh and the Jackets handed the Sox their first league loss, 13-9.
In the second game, the Black Sox built a 5-1 lead in the first two innings then Sheridan chipped away until the margin was down to 5-4 going into the bottom of the fifth. But that’s when the Sox put together their big inning, scoring six times to blow the game open on the way to an 11-4 win.
Now 13-2 on the season and 5-1 in league play, the Sox are set to host Little Rock Blue tonight at around 8 p.m., after a Junior contest at 6.
In the victory on Wednesday, Hunter Mayall, Tyler Brown and Jordan Taylor each had two hits. Hayden Lessenberry drove in a pair of runs and Nate Rutherford picked up the win, after absorbing the loss in the first game when he came in during the eight-run uprising and faced six batters, all of whom scored. In the second game, he allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits, walked four and struck out two.
Jordan Taylor started the opener, working five innings, striking out eight and walking three. In the sixth, Hayden Daniel took over but couldn’t retire anyone then neither could Rutherford. Finally, Landon Pickett came on to get out of the jam.
The Sox were led at the plate by Ozzie Hurt who went 4 for 4. Mayall added three hits.
Bryant took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the second game. A one-out single by Brown got it started. Taylor followed with a base hit and Pickett drew a walk from Sheridan starter Zach Perkins. Josh Pultro cracked a single to right to drive in the first run then Lessenberry plated two with a base hit to the opposite field, making it 3-0.
Sheridan got on the board in the top of the second after Taylor had retired the first two batters. An error allowed Landon Huggins to reach base. Justin Willis walked and John Strange grounded a ball through the hole on the left side for an RBI single.
The Sox countered with two more in the home half of the inning. Mayall singled to center and Brown drew a walk. On a double steal, Mayall drew a wild throw to third, which allowed him to score. Brown came in when Pickett bounced to first.
The Jackets trimmed a run off the 5-1 lead in the third. Singles by Alec Pender and Jake Smith started the inning. A wild pitch allowed them to move up but when Perkins grounded to Brown at third, Pender was thrown out trying to score. But, a walk to Grady Finley loaded the bases, and Smith scored when Nannemann hit into a force at second.
Rutherford ended the inning by picking off Perkins at third.
The Sheridan right-hander settled in after that and shut the Sox out over the next two innings despite a one-out walk to Marcus Wilson in the third and a one-out single by Brown in the fourth.
Meanwhile, the Jackets continued to whittle. In the top of the fourth, there were two out and two strikes when Strange was hit by a pitch. After he advanced on a wild pitch, Nick Ware singled him home. In the top of the fifth, Perkins was plunked, Finley reached on an error that put runners at second and third then Nannemann picked up the RBI with a groundout.
With their lead down to 5-4, the Sox put together their tell-tale six-run uprising. Pultro was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Lessenberry drew a walk then Daniel reached on an error to load the bags. Wilson drew an RBI walk then Hurt singled in a run. Mayall’s base hit kept the line moving, knocking in two. Brown brought home Hurt with a sacrifice fly then Taylor capped the inning with a base hit.
Rutherford pitched around a two-out walk and a hit batsman in the top of the sixth. In the seventh, Finley singled but Nannemann lined out to Wilson in left and Huggins struck out. Willis was hit by a pitch but Strange bounced into a force at third to end it.
There was no inning in which someone didn’t score in the first game, except the seventh when the Sox were retired and Sheridan didn’t have to bat.
Bryant drew first blood in the top of the first when Mayall doubled, Brown singled and the two worked a double steal to get the run.
Sheridan tied it in the second. After Taylor struck out Finley, Nannemann, Huggins and Willis each singled to produce a run.
Bryant quickly regained the advantage with a three-run third. Mayall singled, Brown got a sacrifice down then Taylor walked. Pickett worked the count to 3-2 then unloaded on a home run to left to make it 4-1.
Taylor pitched around a hit batsman and a walk in the bottom of the inning and the Sox went back to work on offense, adding three more. Daniel reached on an error to start the top of the fourth. Hurt beat out bunt for a hit and Mayall shot a single to right to load the sacks for Brown who got a bunt down on the squeeze play for an RBI. Hurt hustled home on the play as well, making it 6-1. Mayall, who raced to third on that play, scored when Taylor bounced to first.
Back came Sheridan in the bottom of the inning with four runs. Huggins and Willis singled to open the inning. Strange reached on an error as Huggins scored then a walk to Ware loaded the bases. Willis scored when Smith grounded into a force at second but then Perkins lashed a ground-rule double to drive in two, making it 7-5.
A two-run fifth extended the lead back to four runs for Bryant. Singles by Tyler Nelson and Pultro opened the frame. Zach Graddy sacrificed them to second and third for Daniel, who delivered a sacrifice fly. Hurt lined a double to left and Pultro scored.
Taylor surrendered a walk and hit a batter in the bottom of the fifth but he got Strange to hit a comebacker and the Bryant hurler started an inning-ending doubleplay.
Perkins pitched around a lead-off single by Brown in the top of the sixth when Ware started the game-breaking home sixth with a double. Ware singled and Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Perkins whose grounder was mishandled allowing two runs to score.
A two-run single by Finley cut the lead to 9-8 then a base hit by Nannemann tied it and put Sheridan in front.
The nightmare inning for the Sox continued with singles by Huggins and Willis which produced another run. Pickett struck out Strange and got Ware to pop up on the infield but Pender singled to load the bases and Smith delivered the crowning blow with a two-run single to center to make it 13-9.
The Sox didn’t go quietly in the seventh. Putro walked and, with two down, Hurt rapped his fourth hit but both were stranded.