By Rob Patrick
The Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team figures to face some tough competition when[more] they head to the 2012 Independence Day Classic in Columbia, Tenn., this week. Unfortunately, they didn’t get much on Tuesday against Cabot Centennial Bank.
Bryant improved to 16-2 on the season with a 16-0 run-rule win in seven innings of a scheduled nine-inning meeting.
Cabot had come into the game playing well in Zone 3 including a win over Zone 4 leader Texarkana, but the Sox jumped on them early while right-hander Jordan Taylor mowed down their first six batters.
Bryant scored in each of the first five innings including a seven-run fifth to create the blowout. Taylor combined with Tyler Brown, Ozzie Hurt and Tryce Schalchlin on a five-hit shutout.
As might be expected with that kind of score, everyone that played for the Sox either scored or knocked in a run or both. Hunter Mayall and Tyler Nelson each had three hits. Mayall, who has hit safely in 16 of Bryant’s 18 games including the last five in row, bumped his season batting average to a scorching .565 average. He reached base all five times he came up Tuesday including in his first at bat when his long drive to centerfield was dropped.
Brown singled him to third and Taylor singled him home to start a four-run first. Landon Pickett, who drew three walks and scored twice, drew his first free pass to load the bases for Josh Pultro.
Pultro, who earlier in the day had made it official that he would be playing college ball at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, lashed a drive down the right-field line, clearing the bases with a double.
He would wind up with a game-high four runs batted in.
In the second, Marcus Wilson bounced a single up the middle for the Sox. Hurt sacrificed him to second and Mayall smashed one to the fence for an RBI triple. He alertly tagged and scored when Tyler Brown’s pop behind first base was flagged down by Cabot second baseman Justin Goff, running away from the infield.
The Bankers managed their first base-runner in the top of the third when Chipper Morris earned the only walk that Bryant’s quartet of pitchers allowed. Ryne Logan singled to right but Taylor regained command with a strikeout. Hurt made a nice play on a chopper up the middle by Bryson Morris to get a force at second then Casey Vaughan grounded out to Brown at third, preserving the shutout.
Pickett drew his second walk to start the bottom of the third. He sprinted home when Nelson one-hopped the fence in right-center for an RBI triple that made it 7-0. An out later, Zach Graddy singled him in.
Brown took over on the mound in the top of the fourth and surrendered a one-out double to T.C. Carter. With two down, Carter tried to score from second on a single up the middle by Tyler Wilkie but Wilson charged in and fired a strike to Graddy who had the ball waiting on Carter when he got there, ending the inning in spectacular fashion.
Nelson’s two-out single in the bottom of the inning drove in Taylor to make it 9-0. Taylor and Pickett had drawn two-out walks and advanced on a passed ball.
Graddy took a foul tip off his knee in the top of the fifth and with catcher Hayden Lessenberry in northeast Arkansas along with outfielder Hayden Daniel and pitcher Nate Rutherford for the Xtrainnings underclassman all-star games, Bryant manager Darren Hurt had to turn to emergency catchers. Initially that was Pickett then Brown took a turn in the seventh inning.
Cabot threatened again in that fifth inning as Chipper Morris and Logan singled. Grant Bell sacrificed them to second and third the Bryson Morris lifted a fly to center that Wilson came in to grab. And this time, Cabot didn’t test his arm.
Before the next pitch, Brown picked Chipper Morris off third to end the inning.
The Sox’ seven-run blitz in the fifth began with Wilson getting plunked by Vaughan, who had relieved Morris in the fourth. Hurt followed with a single to left then Mayall was struck by a pitch to load the bases.
A walk to Brown forced in a run after Carter, the Cabot catcher, switched to first and Tristan Bruce took over behind the plate. With the bags full, Vaughan, for some reason, decided to make a pick-off throw to first. But Carter wasn’t even holding Brown on.
Initially, the homeplate umpire called it a balk but, the rule is that the team that benefits from the balk can opt to take the results of whatever play occurs. With the wild throw both Hurt and Mayall came around to score.
After an extended explanation to the Cabot manager, Vaughan issued a four-pitch walk to Taylor and Kyle Kauffman became the third Bankers’ pitcher.
A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third and, with one out, Nelson’s towering fly on the infield was misplayed. As a result the bases were loaded for Pultro who powered a sacrifice fly to center to make it 14-0.
Schalchlin, who came in to play left when Graddy was hurt, blooped a double just inside the line in right, knocking in Taylor. Wilson singled in Nelson and, after Hurt was hit by a pitch, Mayall spanked his third hit to drive in Schalchlin with the final run.
Hurt needed just 11 pitches to retire the Bankers in the sixth and Schalchlin required no more than that to finish with a 1-2-3 seventh.
The Sox are set to play Thursday at 2:15 p.m., against Mayfield, Ky. Pool play will continue on Friday with games against Columbiana, Ala., at 4:15 p.m., and Shelbyville, Tenn., at 6:30.
The tournament includes teams from Georgia, Florida and Louisiana as well as Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. There are 24 teams playing in eight pools. Bracket play commences on Saturday with the semifinals and finals set for Sunday.
BRYANT BLACK SOX 16, CABOT CENTENNIAL BANK 0
Senior American Legion
Bankers ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
B.Morris, p-cf 3 0 0 0 Mayall, lf-1b 4 3 3 2
Vaughan, cf-p-rf 3 0 0 0 Brown, 3b-p-c 3 2 1 2
Bruce, 1b-c 3 0 0 0 Taylor, p-ss-3b 3 3 2 1
Carter, c-1b 3 0 1 0 Pickett, 1b-c 2 2 0 0
Goff, 2b 3 0 0 0 Nelson, ss-2b 5 2 3 2
Wilkie, 3b 3 0 1 0 Pultro, rf 3 0 1 4
C.Morris, ss 2 0 1 0 Graddy, c 3 0 1 1
Logan, lf 2 0 2 0 Schalchlin, lf-p 1 1 1 1
Bell, rf 1 0 0 0 Wilson, cf 3 2 2 1
Kauffman, p 0 0 0 0 Hurt, 2b-p 2 1 1 0
Totals 23 0 5 0 Totals 29 16 15 14
Cabot 000 000 0 — 0
BRYANT 422 170 x — 16
E—Vaughan 2, Pickett, Wilkie. DP—Cabot 2. LOB—Cabot 4, Bryant 8. 2B—Pultro, Carter, Schalchlin. 3B—Mayall, Nelson. SB—Graddy. S—Hurt, Bell. SF—Brown, Pultro.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
B.Morris (L) 3 8 7 7 2 3
Vaughan 1 6 1 3 5 0
Kauffman 3 2 0 5 0 1
Taylor 3 0 0 1 1 3
Brown (W) 2 0 0 4 0 0
Hurt 1 0 0 0 0 0
Schalchlin 1 0 0 0 0 0
Vaughan faced five batters in the fifth.
HBP—Wilson, Mayall (by Vaughan), Hurt (by Kauffman). WP—Kauffman 2. PB—Carter.