Senior Sox blow open tight, season-opening game at Cabot with 12-run sixth

CABOT — The Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team used some small ball to spark[more] a big inning in its 2013 debut Monday. The result was a 12-run explosion that turned a 5-4 deficit in an eventual run-rule win, 22-6, in seven innings over Cabot.

Trevor Ezell led the onslaught with four hits. Ozzie Hurt, back after playing at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith this spring, added three hits as did Tryce Schalchlin, who played at Ouachita Baptist University this spring. Hayden Lessenberry, Hayden Daniel and Austin Caldwell pitched in with two hits apiece.

The game-breaking frame began with a walk to Caldwell, who was in as a pinch-hitter. Schalchlin, trying to sacrifice, got a bunt down that he legged out for a hit. In the same way, Ezell got aboard, loading the bases for Hurt who walked to force in the tying run.

The control issues continued for Cabot starter Hayden Vinson. He issued an RBI pass to Tyler Nelson (who played at Arkansas Baptist University this spring). Lessenberry then beat out an infield hit to drive in a run and Marcus Wilson walked to force another home. And when Daniel singled to make it 9-5, Cabot changed pitchers.

But a walk to Chase Tucker filled the sacks again for Caldwell, who laced a double to left-center to knock in two runs. After Schalchlin drew a free pass to fill them up again, Ezell was hit by a pitch to force in a run, setting the stage for Hurt’s two-run single. He and Ezell then worked a double steal that got the lead runner home as Hurt got in a rundown, making it 16-5.

After Cabot managed a run in the bottom of the inning, the Sox put the finishing touches on the romp with six more in the seventh before Schalchlin, the third Bryant pitcher ended it by striking out the side in the home half.

The seventh-inning uprising began with Daniel reaching back on a third-strike wild pitch. With one out, Caldwell smacked his second double and Schalchlin singled in a run. Base hits by Ezell and Hurt kept the carousel rolling. Walks to Nelson and Wilson forced in a run then Nelson scored as Daniel reached on an error to finish things off.

Nate Rutherford started for the Sox and went four innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second but, in the third, Cabot managed four runs on five hits and an error to grab a 4-0 lead.

After being blanked by Vinson over the first three innings, Bryant got on the board in the top of the fourth when Nelson reached second on a throwing error and Wilson singled him in, taking second on the late throw to the plate. Daniel followed with an RBI double to make it 4-2.

Rutherford worked around a one-out error in the bottom of the fourth and the Sox pulled even to start the fifth. Ezell singled, took second on a passed ball and scored on a double by Hurt. As Nelson was drawing a walk, Hurt moved up to third on a passed ball but he was thrown out trying to score on Lessenberry’s safety squeeze attempt. With two out, however, Wilson came through with a single to left, chasing home Nelson with the tying tally.

Tucker took over on the mound in the fifth and issued a walk. A stolen base and a double put Cabot back on top but the right-hander settled down after that and retired the side.

That set the stage for Bryant’s 12-run frame. Schalchlin took over on the mound for the Sox in the sixth and Cabot managed a run on three hits but he forced them to leave runners at second and third with a strikeout and a liner to Ezell at third.

Bryant is scheduled to play its first Zone 4 games of the season tonight with a doubleheader at Pine Bluff.

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