SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After being the last team to get into the championship bracket at the Mid-America Premier Tournament, the Bryant Black Sox Senior wound up being the last team standing as they captured the tournament title for the second year in a row.
The Sox went 3-1 in pool play, coming from behind for 10-9 and 7-5 wins in their first two games. In their third, they were on their way to a comeback when the final out was made, and they lost 10-9. They finished the pool with a tough 5-3 win over the Midwest Nationals.
In bracket play, they wound up playing three teams that had swept the four games of their respective pools and proceeded to bury them by a combined score of 32-4.
After being Arkansas Express, 10-0 on Saturday, they knocked out Perfect Timing 17 Blue, 10-2, on Sunday and followed up in the championship game with a 12-2 blowout of Perfect Timing 16 Blue. The Perfect Timing teams are based in Rogers.
“We just decided to show up and play,” said Sox manager Darren Hurt. “We did not play well Thursday and Friday, but we played really well on Saturday and Sunday.
“The pitcher we beat in the last game is committed to Oklahoma,” he noted. “We pounded the ball today.”
Hurt admitted, “I threw one of my tantrums that I have to do about twice a summer on Friday night and they responded really well.”
Bryant, now 32-7-1 scored in all but one inning in the six-inning championship game and all but one in the five-inning semifinal win, after scoring in three of six innings in the win on Saturday. That’s adding runs in 9 of 11 innings on Sunday and 12 of 17 in bracket play.
Bryant 12, Perfect Timing 16 Blue 2
Logan Chambers had three hits including a pair of triples and drove in four runs while Jake Wright and Coby Greiner added two hits each.
Wright started the game on the mound and, though he surrendered a pair of runs in the first, shut out PT over the next three innings. Greiner pitched a scoreless fifth and Boston Heil finished up with a perfect sixth.
The Sox committed two errors but neither played into the scoring.
The opening salvo was ignited by Wright’s double to center. Cade Drennan was struck by a 2-0 pitch and Scott Schmidt walked to load the bases for Myers Buck, who delivered a two-run double. Schmidt scored the third run on a groundout by Brandon Hoover.
A walk and a hit batsman with one out provided Perfect Timing a chance in the bottom of the inning. Wright got the second out on strikes, but a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before a single plated them, making it 3-2.
A groundout to Chambers at short ended the inning with the lead intact.
Greiner opened the top of the second with an infield hit. He raced home ahead of Chambers, who cracked his first triple. Wright’s sacrifice fly made it 5-2.
After Perfect Timing was unable to take advantage of a two-out single in the bottom of the second, Hoover reached on an error to start the third and scored when Logan Grant pounded a triple.
Blue made a bid to score in the bottom of the fourth. A single and an error had runners at first and second. A comebacker to Wright resulted in a force at third. The next batter ground a single to right. Grant charged in and threw to the plate, forcing the lead runner to stop and try to go back to third. But third was already occupied by his teammate.
The trail runner took off in an attempt to retreat to second but was thrown out as Drennan, the Bryant catcher, threw to Buck at third, who relayed to Schmidt at second.
After being held for the only time of the game in the top of the fourth, the Sox tacked on in the fifth.
Hoover led off with a walk but was forced at second on Grant’s grounder to short. A walk to Matthew Sandidge set the table for Greiner’s hit-and-run single to center. On the throw to the plate as Grant scored, Greiner hustled into second.
That brought up Chambers who hit a hump-back liner over the leaping second baseman for an RBI single and an 8-2 lead. Chambers stole second then Wright lined a single to center to plate Greiner.
On in relief of Wright in the bottom of the fifth, Greiner surrendered an infield hit but then retired the next three, including an inning-ending strikeout.
Bryant’s onslaught resumed in the top of the sixth. After walks to Buck and Logan Catton, Sandidge drilled a one-out single to right to make it 10-2. With runners at first and third, Chambers belted his second triple to make it a 10-run lead.
Heil retired the first two in the bottom of the sixth and, after an error allowed a base-runner, he got the final out on a fly to Grant in right.
Bryant 10, Perfect Timing 17 Blue 2
Sandidge, Hoover, Drennan and Wright each had two hits with Hoover, Buck and Schmidt each driving in a pair. Bryant scored five times in the top of the third to erase a 2-1 deficit then the defense and the pitching of Schmidt quieted the Perfect Timing bats the rest of the way.
Over five innings, the Bryant right-hander allowed just six hits, five of them singles, walked one and struck out nine as the Sox played error-free defense.
Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a walk to Schmidt, a wild pitch that allowed Catton, a courtesy runner, to take second. Hoover singled him home.
Perfect Timing used a double and a pair of singles to plate two in the bottom of the second. But Drennan, the Bryant catcher, caught a runner trying to steal and Schmidt retired the next two.
Bryant’s game-breaking third-inning eruption started after two were out. Wright tripled and, after Drennan walked, Schmidt came through with an RBI single to center to tie the game.
With Grant in running for Drennan and Catton back in for Schmidt, Buck whacked a double to left that chased both home, giving Bryant the lead for good.
After a pitching change, Hoover singled in Buck and Sandidge ripped a triple to make it 6-2.
Schmidt struck out two as he pitched around a one-out walk and a two-out single in the home third. In turn, Bryant continued to add on.
Greiner led off the fourth with a walk. An out later, Wright drew a free pass to set the table for Drennan, who lined a single to left to get Greiner home. And when Schmidt’s grounder to short was botched, Wright came in to make it 8-2.
Despite a lead-off single in the bottom of the inning, Perfect Timing was unable to scratch as Schmidt retired the next three, one of them on strikes.
Sandidge belted his second triple to start the top of the fifth. After Grayson Prince drew a walk, he stole second. Chambers provided a run with a sacrifice fly to left then Wright capped the outburst with an RBI double.
Drennan singled to right and Wright tried to score but was thrown out to end the inning.
Another lead-off single gave Perfect Timing a glimmer of hope, but Schmidt finished in style by striking out the side.
The Sox are set to return to action this Tuesday with a twinbill at Morrilton. They finish the regular season on Wednesday with a pair at Searcy.
Bryant will host the Area 3 District Tournament staring Friday at Bryant High School Field. Searcy, Little Rock and Benton will be included in the double-elimination tournament to determine two representatives for the Senior State tourney at Hendrix College in Conway starting Friday, July 27.