FORT SMITH — Avenging a previous loss in the 2018 Katzer Tournament, the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team blasted the Three Rivers Bandits of Coweta, Okla., 12-3, Saturday afternoon to capture the tourney championship.
The Sox reached the championship game by downing the Fort Smith Sportsman Athletics Senior Legion team, 8-7, earlier in the day.
On the day, Bryant scored 20 runs on 25 hits as it improved to 8-2 on the season going into a pair of games at home against Searcy.
“We have some guys that are really starting to swing it,” acknowledged Sox manager Darren Hurt. “Our defense was good except a couple of innings today. It hurt not having (Logan) Catton at third. The pitching was good. We’re just really short on arms.”
Scott Schmidt went the distance on the mound in the title game. Over six innings, he allowed four hits and struck out four. Only one of the Bandits’ three runs was earned.
In the first game, Will McEntire worked three innings, giving up two runs on four hits. Coby Greiner pitched the final four innings, surviving a big Fort Smith comeback in the bottom of the seventh.
Bryant 12, Three Rivers 3
The Sox had lost to Three Rivers in pool play on Saturday, 7-5. On Sunday, they hammered out 11 hits to take advantage of eight walks and three hit batsmen. Logan Chambers had three hits and three runs batted in while Brandon Hoover had two knocks and four driven home.
Three Rivers scored a run in the bottom of the second to take an early lead. An error and a two-out double produced the tally.
Bryant struck for two runs in the top of the third to take the lead. Konnor Clontz singled and, with one out, Chambers doubled. After Jake Wright walked, Peyton Dillon singled in the first run. With two away, Schmidt walked to force in Chambers.
Three Rivers tied it with a single, a bunt hit and a throwing error in the bottom of the third.
The top of the fourth broke the game open for Bryant. Grayson Prince led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Clontz. With two away, Chambers singled in Prince, taking second on a late throw to the plate.
A walk to Wright preceded Dillon getting hit by a pitch to load the bases. Chambers scored on a wild pitch then Hoover’s single plated two to make it 6-2.
Schmidt added a base hit to left and, after a pitching change, a pair of wild pitches brought Hoover around to score.
A single, a sacrifice and a two-out knock produced the final Three Rivers run in the home fourth.
The Sox made it a run-rule win with three in the fifth and two in the sixth. In the fifth, Clontz drew a one-out walk then Greiner singled. A walk to Chambers filled the sacks for Wright. He tapped to third resulting in a force at the plate, but Dillon was hit by a pitch again, forcing in a run and Hoover brought home two more with his second single.
In the sixth, Gage Stark drew a walk and Clontz was plunked by a 1-1 delivery. With two away, Chambers doubled to chase home both runners, making it 12-3.
Schmidt retired the last six batters to sew up the victory and the championship.
Bryant 8, Fort Smith 7
The Sox built an 8-2 lead before Fort Smith rallied for a run in the sixth and four in the seventh. The Sportsman had the potential tying and winning runs on base when Greiner ended it with a strikeout.
Chambers, Schmidt and Cade Drennan each had three hits in the game. Hoover and Stark had two apiece.
In the first, Chambers and Wright drew lead-off walks. With one out, Hoover picked up a free pass then Schmidt popped a single to right for an RBI. Drennan lined a single to center to make it 2-0.
McEntire worked around a lead-off walk in the home first then the Sox added two more in the second. Stark singled and took second as Greiner tapped to third. Chambers doubled in the run and, with two away, Dillon doubled him in.
It stayed 4-0 until Fort Smith plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth on a double, a pair of singles, a walk and a groundout. The Sox turned a doubleplay to end the threat.
And they added three runs in the top of the fifth when Hoover and Schmidt drilled singles and Drennan beat out a bunt for a hit to load the bases. Matthew Sandidge came through with a sacrifice fly then Stark singled in a run. Greiner got a squeeze bunt down and it was 7-2.
In the top of the sixth, Dillon was hit by a pitch then Hoover and Schmidt singled to load the bags. Drennan’s sacrifice fly got Dillon home.
A trio of consecutive singles put Fort Smith in position to score. The Sox gave up a run in exchange for a doubleplay and it was 8-3 going into the final frame.
Chambers singled but was stranded in the top of the inning then an error opened the door for the Fort Smith rally. A pair of singles produced the first run. A double made it 8-6 and, with one out, another error made it a one-run game.
Greiner got the second out on a pop up and, after a single, ended it with the strikeout.