LITTLE ROCK — A funny thing happened on the way to the MId-America Tournament in Springfield, Mo. The Bryant Black Sox Senior Amer visited Hogan Field at UALR and took on the rival Little Rock Post 1 Vipers. It was a tight game until late when the Vipers scored four times in the fifth inning and went on to a 9-4 victory, just the sixth of the season for the Black Sox.
Bryant, now 26-6-1, opens play at the Springfield Tournament on Thursday afternoon Ozark High School at 3:30, against Play It Again.
The Vipers out-hit the Sox 12-6. Scott Schmidt had three of Bryant’s hits and Logan Chambers had two. Brandon Hoover had the other hit. All were singles.
The Sox took a 2-0 lead in the first. One-out walks to Jake Wright and Cade Drennan were followed by Hoover’s rocket single to right to make it 1-0. Schmidt lined a single to left to plate Drennan and it was 2-0.
Logan Catton started on the mound for Bryant. A lead-off double set the stage for the Vipers’ first run. On a grounder to short, Chambers tried to nab the runner headed for third but he beat the play and Little Rock had runners at first and third.
Though the Sox turned a 6-4-3 doubleplay, the lead runners scored to make it 2-1..
Catton induced another grounder, this time to Schmidt at second, to end the inning.
The Sox tacked on with a little two-out uprising in the second. Catton walked and raced to third on Chambers’ single to right. Chambers then stole second and drew a throw. He beat the rap as Catton headed home. A throw got away and not only was Catton safe but Chambers wound up at third. But he was stranded.
A walk started Little Rock’s third. On a wild pitch, the runner raced to third but he was caught in a rundown and tagged out.
After a single, the Sox got a force at second as Hoover grabbed a grounder to first and threw to Chambers for the force. The inning concluded with a grounder back to Catton for the third out.
Bryant threatened to add to its 3-1 lead in the top of the third. With one out, Hoover drew a walk and Schmidt smacked a single to right. Hoover got to third when Logan Grant’s grounder to short resulted in a force but he got no further.
In turn, Little Rock rallied with two out and a man on first as Coby Greiner took over on the mound for the Sox. A wild pitch and an RBI single made it 3-2. The batter took second on the late throw to the plate then scored to tie it on a single to left.
Greiner ended the uprising there with a strikeout.
Neither team mustered much in the fourth. Greiner set down the Vipers in order. Little Rock changed pitchers in the fifth and the Sox were retired 1-2-3.
Little Rock’s tale-tell bottom of the fifth began with a single, a balk and another single, which snapped the tie.
With runners at first and second and one out, Boston Heil relieved for Bryant and he was greeted by a two-run double that made it 6-3. Another single added a run before Heil induced a groundout then struck out a batter to end the inning.
Despite a two-out walk to Greiner, the Sox did not answer in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the inning, Heil was an out away from kept it 7-3 when a single, a triple and another single expanded the lead to 9-3.
A pair of one-out walks (to Jake Wright and Cade Drennan) gave Bryant some hope of a comeback in the top of the seventh. A wild pitch moved them to second and third. With two down, Schmidt singled in Wright.
But that’s all the Sox could manage. The game concluded with Grant’s fly to center.