Senior Sox close out regular season with 8-4 win over Pine Bluff Simmons
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By Rob Patrick
When the Zone 4 Senior American Legion Tournament begins at Bryant High School Field on Friday, pitching depth will be at a premium. Not only is it a double-elimination tournament over four days but the games will last nine innings instead of the regular-season standard seven innings.
So, since their regular-season finale had no impact on the seedings for the tournament, the Bryant Black Sox and Pine Bluff Simmons First Bankers took the opportunity to get some innings in for some of their pitchers. Bryant used four, Pine Bluff five in what turned out to be a tune-up for the upcoming tourney.
Bryant got the best of it with an 8-4 win as Calem Milam, Landon Pickett and Matt Neal turned in five innings of shutout relief. Brady Butler made the start and knocked off the rust in what was his first mound work since June 19.[more]
The Sox pounded out 10 hits including two each by Jordan Taylor and Lucas Castleberry.
Despite the loss, the Bankers retain the top seed for this weekend’s tournament as the regular-season league champion. They will open play on Saturday against the winner of Friday’s contest between Benton McClendon’s and Little Rock Continental Express.
Bryant will open against Texarkana at 8 p.m. on Friday night following the Benton-Little Rock contest which starts at 5. The Black Sox tied for second with Texarkana’s Razorbacks. The two teams split a doubleheader on Sunday, July 11.Wednesday’s win improved the Sox to 16-12 on the season.
Butler received a rude greeting from Simmons. Of his first three pitches, two of them were clubbed for doubles by Hunter Colson and Deonta Howard. But the right-hander got some defensive help from Taylor at short who made a diving catch of a line drive hit by Collin Massenelli. Even Jobe tracked down a long fly to center off the bat of Ryan Dardenne then Butler struck out Josh Guy to get out of the inning.
After the Sox were unable to take advantage of an infield hit by Taylor and a walk to Butler with two out in the bottom of the inning, the Bryant starter worked a 1-2-3 second, finishing with another strikeout.
Castleberry led off the bottom of the inning with a sharp single to left then Tyler Brown got down a nearly perfect bunt up the third-base line that he beat out for a hit. But the Sox were unable to move them along and Pine Bluff maintained its 1-0 lead.
And the Bankers added to that in the top of the third. A bad-hop single by Antoine Jackson and a walk to Colson was followed by Howard’s single to left to load the bases. With Massanelli at the play, a pitch got past catcher Dylan Cross and though it hit the concrete base below the backstop and ricocheted back to him, his toss toward Butler trying to cover the plate was off line as Jackson scored. Butler chased down the loose ball as Colson rounded third. The pitcher’s return throw to Cross was off the mark as well as Colson scored to make it 3-0.
Howard, meanwhile, pulled into third and scored moments later when Massanelli cracked an RBI double to right-center.
Milam relieved at that point and worked out of the jam, forcing Pine Bluff to strand runners at the corners.
In the bottom of the inning, Howard relieved Colson and the Sox jumped on him. Chris Joiner and Taylor each singled. Howard retired Milam and Brennan Bullock on flyballs to the outfield but, on an 0-2 pitch — just a strike away from the end of the inning — Castleberry cracked a liner over the second baseman’s head for an RBI single.
After fouling off a trio of 3-2 deliveries, Brown earned a walk to load the bases. A free pass to Cross forced in a run, making it 4-2. Jobe then came through with a solid single to center that tied the game as Castleberry and Brown scored.
And when Mayall blistered a liner to center for a hit, Ozzie Hurt, running for Cross, sprinted home to give Bryant a 5-4 lead.
Guy relieved at that point and stopped the bleeding for the time being. He would proceed to allow just one hit over 2 1/3 innings.
Milam hit Jared Wilson with a pitch to start the top of the fourth. A wild pitch allowed him to take second then Jackson singled sharply to left. With no one out, Wilson was held at third but Jackson made a big turn at first and, after a brief hesitation, took off for second. Bullock had relayed accurately to Brown, his cutoff man. And, when Jackson tried to get into second, Brown fired to Castleberry at second to nail him for the first out.
Milam came back to fan Colson and get Josh White to bounce to first to end the threat.
Pickett took over in the fifth and retired the side in order. After Guy pitched around a single by Milam in the bottom of the fourth, Zach Barr and Ryan Bowlin singled in the bottom of the inning. With two down, Colson walked to load the bases but Pickett got White to bounce to third to end the inning with Bryant’s 5-4 lead intact.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ryan Dardenne became Pine Bluff’s fourth pitcher. He retired the first two batters he faced but then began to struggle with his control. He issued consecutive walks to Milam, Bullock and Pickett to load the bases.
Dardenne’s little brother Justin was called on to pitch and he got Brown to hit a hot one-hopper that ate up Jackson at second. Butler and Bullock scored as the ball got through into right field. Pickett wound up at third and he scored the final run on a lined single to left by Hurt.
Neal relieved in the seventh and eased to a 1-2-3 inning starting with a strikeout and a tap back to the mound. Trey Moser followed with a chopper that was just beyond the reach of Neal who lunged to his right to try to get to the ball. But Brown, ranging from his third-base position, flashed to field the ball. He fired a throw to first in time to get Moser and end the game.
BRYANT BLACK SOX 8, PINE BLUFF SIMMONS FIRST BANK 4
Senior American Legion
Bankers ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Colson, p-ss 2 2 1 0 Mayall, 1b 4 0 1 1
Howard, ss-p 2 1 2 1 Joiner, rf-c 4 1 1 0
White, rf 2 0 0 0 Taylor, ss 4 1 2 0
Massanelli, cf 3 0 1 1 Butler, p 0 0 0 0
James, cf 1 0 0 0 Milam, p-rf 2 1 1 0
R.Dardenne, c-p 3 0 0 0 Bullock, lf 3 1 0 0
Lee, lf 1 0 0 0 Castleberry, 2b-rf 3 1 2 1
Guy, 1b-p 3 0 0 0 Pickett, p 0 1 0 0
Moser, c 1 0 0 0 Neal, p 0 0 0 0
Barr, rf-1b 2 0 1 0 Brown, 3b 2 1 1 0
J.Dardenne, lf-p 3 0 0 0 Cross, c 1 0 0 1
Wilson, 3b 1 0 0 0 Hurt, pr-2b 2 1 1 1
Bowlin, 3b 1 0 1 0 Jobe, cf 4 0 1 2
Totals 28 4 8 2 Totals 29 8 10 6
Pine Bluff 103 000 0 — 4
BRYANT 005 003 x — 8
E—Cross, Butler, Jackson. LOB—Pine Bluff 6, Bryant 10. 2B—Colson, Howard, Massanelli. SB—Jackson.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Colson 2 0 0 3 1 0
Howard (L) 0.2 5 5 5 2 0
Guy 2.1 0 0 1 0 2
R.Dardenne 0.2 3 0 0 3 0
J.Dardenne 0.1 0 0 1 0 1
Butler 2 4 3 5 1 2
Milam (W) 2 0 0 1 1 1
Pickett 2 0 0 2 1 0
Neal 1 0 0 0 0 1
HBP—Wilson (by Milam), Brown (by Guy). WP—Milam, R.Dardenne. PB—Cross.