By Rob Patrick
Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion manager Darren Hurt had designs on getting some[more] tune-up work for four of his pitchers Monday night in advance of his team’s trip to Omaha, Neb., later this week for the annual Battle of Omaha held in conjunction with the College World Series. The Sox figure to need as much pitching as they can get when they compete in pool play Thursday through Saturday in hopes of making it to the Sunday championship bracket again this year.
Tryce Schalchlin made the Monday start against Cabot Centennial Bank and needed just 45 pitches to go five innings in the scheduled nine-inning contest. Cody Gogus, who hasn’t been on the mound in a while, worked two scoreless frames, but that would be it. There would be no tune-up for Ozzie Hurt or Chase Tucker because, offensively, the Sox clubbed 12 hits and posted a run-rule win in seven innings, 10-0, improving to 11-1-1.
The rout came despite the fact that Bryant was without three of its best hitters, Trevor Ezell, Marcus Wilson and Hayden Daniel. Ezell was on his way to a scouting event hosted by the Chicago White Sox in Tulsa. Wilson, along with starting pitcher Nate Rutherford, is in Conway for the annual Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star game later this week. Daniel, after pitching seven innings in the heat and humidity in Jonesboro on Saturday was available but rested by Hurt.
Drew Tipton stepped in for Wilson in left and went 2 for 3 with a pair of runs batted in while Tucker continued his hot hitting with a pair of knocks as did Austin Caldwell and Gogus, who broke out of a slump and, along with Hayden Lessenberry, drove in two runs.
As it turned out, Schalchlin and Gogus combined on a three-hit shutout. Schalchlin faced the minimum over the first five innings allowing two base-runners who were both retired on the bases. The Sox’ lone error allowed Cabot’s Coleman McAtee to reach leading off the second but a grounder to Kory Thompson at second off the bat of Adam Hicks resulted in a doubleplay. The other base-runner came in the fourth when Connor Vocque blooped a single to right — the lone hit Schalchlin surrendered. Moments later, Lessenberry fired a strike to second to nab Vocque trying to steal.
Gogus worked around a one-out single to Dylan Bowers in the sixth then gave up a lead-off single to Bryson Morris in the seventh. Again, however, the Sox turned a doubleplay, going around the horn from third baseman Harrison Dale (in for Ezell) to Thompson, who made a sparkling turn, to Tyler Nelson at first.
McAtee struck out to end the inning.
At that point, Bryant had built an 8-0 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, Nelson walked, stole second and third, drawing a wild throw that allowed him to score. Lessenberry was plunked by a pitch from Bowers, the second Cabot pitcher. He then hustled home all the way from first when Tucker banged a shot off the left-field fence for a game-ending RBI double.
Cabot lefty Gavin Tillery retired the first five Black Sox batters but when Caldwell legged out an infield hit and Dale beat out a bunt for a single, the onslaught began. The twosome worked a double steal, the first of nine stolen bases in the game by the Sox. Gogus worked the count to 3-2 and yanked a base hit inside the third-base bag to make it 2-0.
In the third, Tipton drew a walk and was sacrificed to second by Hurt. With two down, Tipton stole third and Lessenberry came through in the clutch with a single up the middle.
Two were out in the fourth when Gogus rapped his second single. Thompson plugged the gap in right-center for a double bringing up Tipton. He pulled a two-hopper to the right of Hicks, the Cabot third baseman. Hicks made a nice back-hand stop but Tipton beat his throw to first for an RBI single. Thompson tried to catch Cabot napping and rounded third trying to sneak home on Gogus’ heels but a relay to the plate was in time for the third out.
Still, the Sox led 4-0 and it was soon 5-0. Hurt led off the fifth with a single, stole his way to third and scored on Lessenberry’s grounder to second.
A perfectly placed bunt earned Caldwell his second hit to open the bottom of the sixth. He moved to second on a wild pitch and to third when Dale bounced to first. With two down, Thompson worked a four-pitch walk leading to Tipton’s two-run double to right-center.
After a pitching change, Tipton took off for third, picked up the steal and drew another errant throw, which allowed him to score, making it 8-0.
BRYANT 10, CABOT 0
Centennial Bank ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Vocque, ss 3 0 1 0 Tipton, lf 3 2 2 2
Morris, 1b-cf 3 0 1 0 Hurt, ss 3 1 1 0
Vaughn, cf-c 3 0 0 0 Nelson, dh-1b 3 1 0 0
McAtee, dh 3 0 0 0 Lessenberry, c 3 1 1 2
Hicks, 3b 2 0 0 0 Tucker, cf 4 0 2 1
Cole, lf-cf-2b 2 0 0 0 Caldwell, rf 3 2 2 0
Vinson, c 1 0 0 0 Dale, 3b 3 1 1 0
Kaufman, lf 1 0 0 0 Gogus, 1b-p 3 1 2 2
Bowers, 2b-p 2 0 1 0 Thompson, 2b 2 1 1 0
Burke, rf 2 0 0 0 Schalchlin, p 0 0 0 0
Tillery, p 0 0 0 0
Totals 22 0 3 0 Totals 27 10 12 7
Cabot 000 000 0 — 0
BRYANT 021 113 2 — 10
No one out when game-ending run scored.
E—Hurt, Vaughn 2. DP—Bryant 2. LOB—Cabot 1, Bryant 4. 2B—Tipton, Tucker, Thompson. SB—Caldwell, Dale, Tipton 2, Lessenberry, Hurt 2, Nelson 2. S—Hurt.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Tillery (L) 5.2 8 7 11 2 2
Bowers 0.1 2 2 1 1 0
Schalchlin (W) 5 0 0 1 0 2
Gogus 2 0 0 2 0 2
Bowers faced three batters in the seventh.
HBP—Lessenberry (by Bowers).