Senior Sox ease past Paragould to wrap up Jonesboro tourney
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, BryantDaily.com will be posting 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).
JONESBORO — It’s been a while since Brady Butler has pitched but, based on his[more] performance on the mound on Sunday, he may do a little more of it this summer for the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team.
Butler, in his first game on the mound since last summer, shut out Paragould 7-Up on three hits over 4 1/3 innings and, with relief help from Jordan Taylor and Dylan Cross, earned the win as the Sox won the consolation bracket final, 13-2 at the Ray King Ricemen Classic in blazing heat at Tomlinson Stadium at Arkansas State University.
Landon Pickett cracked a three-run homer, his second in as many games, to help the Sox blow the game up. It was 4-0 through four innings. After Pickett’s blast in the fifth, Bryant took advantage of five walks with three hits to bring the game to an early end with a six-run sixth. Pickett had two hits and five runs batted in. Taylor, Lucas Castleberry and Caleb Garrett each had two hits as well.
Butler pitched around a two-out single and a walk in the first inning then struck out the side in the second. He was staked to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Tyler Brown singled, took second on a wild pitch, third on a single by Taylor then scored on a sacrifice fly by Pickett.
Paragould made a bid to tie it or take the lead in the top of the third. Wes Westerman led off the inning with a single and Logan Gaither walked. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, then Butler hit Exan Moncada to load the bases. Butler got out of the jam when he got Spencer Theirmer to tap to Brown at third. Brown threw home for a force then Clint Crowley popped out to Taylor at short to end the threat.
Bryant responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. Garrett and Castleberry started the uprising with singles. Manager Darren Hurt put the squeeze play on and Brown executed the bunt that got Garrett home. And when Taylor’s grounder to third was misplayed, Castleberry came home too.
Butler worked around a two-out single in the top of the fourth and, in the bottom of the inning, the Black Sox struck again. This time, a two-out single by Evan Jobe and a walk to Garrett set the table for Castleberry who lined a single to right-center. Jobe scored but Garrett was caught trying to reach third to end the inning.
In the fifth, Gaither flew out to center but an error allowed Hayden McMillan to reach base. By then, Butler had thrown 75 pitches and Taylor came in to relieve. After Moncada flew out to center, Bryant catcher B.J. Ellis threw out McMillan trying to steal to end the inning.
Brown reached on an error to start the bottom of the inning then Taylor singled. After a pitching change, Pickett unloaded on a 3-2 fastball clearing the fence in about the same spot he had on Saturday in the Sox 5-0 win over Blytheville.
Paragould managed to get on the board in the top of the sixth. With two out and runners at the corners, a balk allowed a run to score. An RBI single by Zack King followed to make it 7-2. Cross relieved for the third day in a row but needed just four pitches to get the final out on a grounder to short that resulted in a force at second.
Hunter Mayall drew a pinch-hit walk to start the bottom of the sixth. Garrett beat out an infield hit then a wild pitch moved both up a base. With one out, Brown drew a free pass to load the bags and Taylor walked to force in a run. Pickett followed with a hard shot off the third baseman’s torso for an RBI single. Run-scoring walks to Ozzie Hurt and Chris Joiner added runs before Ellis brought an end to the contest with a deep drive that bounced over the fence for a two-run ground-rule double.
The Sox improved to 3-1 overall with the victory. They begin play in Zone 4 in their next outing, a doubleheader at Texarkana on Wednesday. They host Little Rock Continental Express on Thursday.