MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Though Grant Dunbar and the Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion struggled a little bit early in their final pool play game at the Mid-Summer Showcase at Tipton-Rosemark Academy on Sunday, they settled down over the final five innings, closing the door on the STL Gamers (Gray) the rest of the game. Bryant’s 4-3 lead after two innings held up (with an insurance run in the sixth) for a 5-3 victory.
The Sox wound up 2-2 in the 15U Division of the tournament. They’re now 7-10 overall going into a game on Tuesday against Cabot.
Dunbar wound up going the distance on the mound, allowing three runs, two earned on seven hits — all singles. He walked just one and fanned four.
The Gamers scored a run in the top of the first on three singles and a passed ball. In the home half, however, the Sox struck for four.
Dunbar was hit by the third pitch of the inning. Clay Crawford beat out an infield hit then both moved up on a grounder to third by Hunter Holt. Dunbar scored to tie the game when he beat a throw to the plate after Aden Palmer hit a tapper in front of the mound. Moments later, Mason Butler’s grounder was misplayed, and Crawford scored to put the Sox on top.
After Tucker Dunn worked a walk to load the bases, Kemp shot a single to right for an RBI and Gage Horn delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
The Gamers used a pair of singles, a double steal, a sacrifice fly and an errant pickoff throw to make it 4-3. A grounder to Palmer at first ended the inning.
Dunbar and the Bryant defense then proceeded to set down 11 in a row before a pair of singles with one out in the top of the sixth. With runners at second and third, Dunbar struck out the next two to escape with the lead.
The Sox threatened in the bottom of the fourth when Catton beat out an infield hit and, with two away, Dunbar doubled. But the Gamers denied them.
In the bottom of the sixth, however, Kemp was struck by a 2-2 pitch with one out, took second on a passed ball as Horn walked and third when Catton drew a free pass to fill the sacks.
After a pitching change, a passed ball allowed Kemp to score as Dunbar was working a walk, setting the final score.
Dunbar and the Sox set down the first two in the top of the seventh but then there was some drama as a hit batsman and a walk put the potential tying runs on base. A grounder to Brady Brower at second, however, brought the contest to a close.