By Rob Patrick
SHERIDAN — Muscle mattered Monday.
The Sheridan Yellowjackets only managed four hits against Bryant Black Sox right-hander Blake Davidson on Monday night at the Zone 4 Junior American Legion tournament but three of them were for extra base hits including a two-run homer by Cody Clemons as Sheridan forced a winner-take-all final between the two teams, with a 6-3 victory. The rubber game for the District title will be Tuesday at 7 p.m.
When Bryant beat Sheridan on Sunday, 12-5, it was the Sox who took advantage of their opponents' miscues in a telling nine-run third inning. The Sox piled up 14 hits, 12 of them singles against the more muscular Jackets. In the rematch on Monday, it was Sheridan which took advantage of a couple of early Bryant miscues and, though the hits were fewer, they were the kind that put people in scoring position.
In fact, Bryant out-hit Sheridan 9-4 but stranded eight runners and hit into two doubleplays. Sheridan's sidewinding right-hander Kurt Stamper went the distance for the win, walking just one, hitting two batters and striking out only two. Davidson, meanwhile, pitched well enough to win with four walks and four strikeouts. Only two of the six runs he surrendered were earned.[more]
"We've got to eliminate the mistakes," acknowledged Bryant manager Brad Chism. "If we do that, we win the game.
"We were in the position where they have to beat us twice," he assessed. "I feel we're in a better position pitching-wise now. We've got one of our top guys throwing tomorrow, Dylan Pritchett, and he thinks of himself as a No. 1. He's ready to go and he told me there's no doubt, we will win tomorrow.
"Our guys are ready to go and they will win tomorrow, I will guarantee that," Chism declared.
Bryant scored first in Monday's game when Chris Joiner led off the game with the first of his three hits, stole second, took third on Lucas Castleberry's tap to the mound and scored on a single that ricocheted off the third-base bag.
In the bottom of the inning, Sheridan lead-off man Landon Moore reached on an error and swiped second. But Davidson set down the next two and had a 1-2 count on Clemons. A strike away from getting nothing, Sheridan hit the jackpot with Clemons' drive to left.
Davidson, however, responded by striking out Tyler Lathan to end the inning.
And the Sox regained the lead in the top of the second. Evan Jobe cracked the first of his three hits and raced to third on a double down the left-field line by Tyler Brown. Jobe had to hold as Davidson bounced out to third but Brodie Nixon got him home with a grounder to short. Joiner doubled to chase home Brown with the go-ahead run. Castleberry walked but Pritchett's shot was scooped up at third for a force to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Sheridan tied it without a hit. Stamper reached on an error, took second on a passed ball and, after Zach Perkins walked, Brandon Rieve sacrificed to put runners at second and third. Nick Ware's groundout drove in the tying run.
Though they had runners on base in every inning, the Sox would score no more. Jobe singled and Brown was hit by a pitch with two down in the top of the third. In the fourth, Nixon and Joiner led off with singles. An out later, Pritchett scorched a long drive to center that was tracked down by Moore with an over-the-shoulder catch that robbed him of extra bases and the Sox of a lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Sheridan took the lead. Lathan doubled just inside the bag at third and scored on a single to right by Stamper who took second on a late throw to the plate. He stole third and, with one out, Rieve and Ware drew walks to load the bases. Moore delivered a second run with a sacrifice fly but Davidson kept it to that by getting Cameron Holland to fly out to left to end the inning.
Jobe's third hit came in the fifth but Brown bounced into a doubleplay.
Clemonsdoubled with one out in the bottom of the fifth, took third on a wild pitch as Lathan struck out then scored on a passed ball before Davidson struck out Stamper to end the inning.
Nixon reached on a one-out error in the top of the sixth but Joiner's liner that looked to be headed to right was grabbed by Perkins at second. A throw to first doubled up Nixon to end the inning.
Davidson worked around a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, but Stamper pitched around a two-out hit batsman in the seventh to close out the win.
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Bryant, now 17-9-1.
SHERIDAN 6, BRYANT 3
Junior American Legion
Zone 4 tournament
Black Sox ab r h bi Yellowjackets ab r h bi
Joiner, cf 4 1 3 1 Moore, cf 3 1 0 1
Castleberry, ss 3 0 0 0 Holland, 3b 3 0 0 0
Pritchett, c 4 0 1 1 Dunigan, ss 3 0 0 0
Pickett, 1b 3 0 0 0 Clemons, c 3 2 2 2
Milam, rf 4 0 0 0 Lathan, rf 3 1 1 0
Jobe, lf 3 1 3 0 Stamper, p 3 2 1 1
Brown, 2b 2 1 1 0 Perkins 2b 2 0 0 0
Davidson, p 3 0 0 0 Rieve, 1b 0 0 0 0
Nixon, 3b 3 0 1 1 Ware, lf 1 0 0 1
Totals 29 3 9 3 Totals 21 6 4 5
BRYANT 120 000 0 — 3
Sheridan 210 210 x — 6
E—Castleberry 2, Holland, Clemons. DP—Sheridan 2. LOB—Bryant 8, Sheridan 4. 2B—Brown, Joiner, Lathan, Clemons. HR—Clemons. SB—Joiner, Moore, Jobe, Stamper. S—Rieve, Ware. SF—Moore.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Davidson (L) 6 6 2 4 4 4
Stamper (W) 7 3 3 9 1 2
HBP—Brown, Pickett (by Stamper). WP—Davidson. PB—Pritchett 2.