CONWAY — Two teams that are used to winning squared off at Bear Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas and they wound up splitting a doubleheader. Two-time defending AA American Legion State champion Morrilton won the first game 3-0 over two-time defending AAA (Senior) American Legion State champion Bryant. The Black Sox turned the tables in game two, winning 9-0 in five innings.
In the victory, the Sox’ Christian Motes, Coby Greiner and Jake Wright combined on a four-hit shutout. Bryant had nine hits including two each for Logan Chambers, Wright and Gage Stark.
In the opener, Bryant’s Slade Renfrow and Logan Catton combined to limit Morrilton to just two hits, a single by Mason Huie in the third and a double by Jaren Hill in the sixth.
The Sox, however, were shutout on five hits by Morrilton’s Caleb Profet, who struck out 10 and walked one over seven innings. Stark had two of those hits. Logan Grant had an infield knock, Catton had a clean single up the middle and Chambers doubled. Bryant stranded seven.
Morrilton turned a doubleplay in the first to erase an error and Bryant turned one in the second to erase Renfrow’s lone walk.
In the third, Ryan Lessenberry drew a walk with one out. Though he was forced at second on Chambers’ grounder to third, Catton followed with a single. But Profet got out of the jam unscathed.
For Morrilton, Ben Jackson was hit by a 1-1 delivery from Renfrow. But the side-winding right-hander came back to fan the next two. Huie, however, singled to right sending Jackson to third. With Eddie Graham up, a passed ball allowed Jackson to score before Graham flew out to Greiner in center.
Grant’s bad-hop single and a blooper by Stark had a pair aboard with one out. With the runners on the move, however, Greiner struck out and, though Grant made it to third, Morrilton catcher Rylee Huie threw to second to nab Stark to end the inning.
Renfrow retired the side in order in the bottom of the fourth.
In the fifth, Profet struck out the first two Sox batters before Chambers went oppo for his double. He, however, was stranded.
Catton pitched around a two-out walk in the fifth, but the Sox went in order in the top of the sixth.
A one-out walk to Graham started the home sixth. He scored on Hill’s double. Aaron Hogue reached on an error and, with Hill on third, Rylee Huie came through with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Stark singled to open the seventh but Profet and his teammates set down the next three to close out the win.
In the second game, the Sox jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two frames. In the opening inning, Chambers singled, stole second, tagged and went to third on Cade Drennan’s deep fly to left then scored on a single by Wright.
A passed ball allowed Wright to take second. He scored on Stark’s double.
Motes retired Morrilton 1-2-3, fanning two in the bottom of the inning.
Bryant’s second began with an error that allowed Brayden Lester to reach safely. Greiner beat out a bunt single then Noah Davis was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Chambers, who cleared them with a double to the gap in right-center.
Wright doubled him in then Stark singled to make it 7-0.
Jack Coates singled to start Morrilton’s second. He raced to third on an errant pickoff throw but was stranded there, despite a one-out walk to Jackson.
Parker Ward led off Morrilton’s third with a single, but Blake Dunn grounded into a doubleplay and Motes struck out Wesley Honeycutt.
Graham relieved for Morrilton in the fourth and issued a lead-off walk to Chambers. After he took second on a passed ball, he scored on Catton’s single to left.
A base hit by Drennan was followed by a grounder to short by Wright that resulted in a force at second as Catton advanced to third. When Lawson Speer grounded into a force, Catton scored to make it 9-0.
Greiner relieved in the bottom of the fourth and struck out the first two he faced. An error extended the inning as Nick Hagerty reached. But when Jackson’s pop behind first base fell in, Hagerty tried to get to third. Davis, who just missed catching the pop on the fly, recovered the ball and fired to Catton at third for the out.
Wright relieved in the sixth and pitched around an error and a single to close out the victory.
The Sox, now 16-8, are set to play the Little Rock Vipers on Tuesday and UALR’s Curran-Conway Field.