Sox hang on to piece together Zone 4 victory over Continental
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, BryantDaily.com will be posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By Rob Patrick
LITTLE ROCK — Let’s see:
Lefty Trent Daniel was still nursing a strain in his back; right-hander Ben Wells had pitched at the Area Code Games tryouts on Tuesday; righty Tyler Sawyer had worked a three-inning stint on the mound in the heat the day before at the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star game; and Kaleb Jobe had caught those three innings at the All-Star game then was called on to pitch in the seventh inning.
So, Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion manager Craig Harrison wasn’t sure who he would have start against Zone 4 rival Little Rock Continental Express at UALR’s Hogan Field on Wednesday night. The Sox were seeking to stay unbeaten in league play against a team they had barely beaten at home, a team that included several players that were key to Continental’s AA (17-and-under) State championship last summer.
Sawyer was the planned starter before his All-Star outing.
“The best laid plans . . .,” Harrison quoted. “You know, during any season, you face challenges, as many internal as you do external, whether it’s trying to find guys playing time, at bats, putting guys in different spots. So, Saw worked three innings (Tuesday). Nothing you can do about that. So, I probably fiddled with the lineup for 10 minutes today. I came to the ballpark and still didn’t know what I was going to do. (Austin) Queck was sitting there and I said, ‘You know what? He deserves it. He’s earned it. Let’s put him out there.’ And he gives us four solid innings again.”
Queck improved to 3-0 on the season (with a 2.17 earned run average), leaving the mound after giving up a lead-off double in the bottom of the fifth, with his team leading 8-2. Continental went on to rally for three runs to cut into the margin as Jobe relieved and the Sox made a couple of errors. But Wells pitched a shutout inning and Sawyer closed it out with an inning of work to pick up the save in the 8-5 victory.[more]
Bryant improved to 17-2 on the season, 6-0 in Zone 4 going into a league doubleheader at Texarkana on Saturday.
“We swung the bats really well in the second, third and fourth innings,” Harrison noted. “I think that helped Austin.”
The manager noted that his right-hander had to compete without his best curveball.
“Those balls they use are Major League balls and they have absolutely zero seams on them,” he mentioned. “After the first inning, we didn’t throw a curveball for a strike. It was fastball and change-up. You know, he just got outs.
“This was a big win tonight,” Harrison concluded. “I’m pumped.”
Continental held a 1-0 lead after an inning. Jordan Getchall had beaten out an infield single into the hole at short, advanced on a passed ball, took third on Ivan Tate’s long fly to right and scored on Scott Chalene’s groundout. Queck walked Jim Manney and surrendered a single by Drew Tullos but got Tyler Hayes to fly out to Brennan Bullock in left to keep it to that.
The Sox took the lead in the top of the second when Hunter Mayall singled up the middle and was able to race to third on an errant pickoff throw. Jobe drove one to the base of the right-field fence for a triple to tie the game then scored on a base hit up the middle by Brady Butler.
Queck worked a 1-2-3 second and Bryant extended the lead in the top of the third. Sawyer, who had three hits in the game, pulled a one-out single to right, Mayall lined one up the middle and Jobe shot another single into right to plate a run. And when the outfielder missed the cutoff man, Mayall and Jobe moved up to second and third.
Continental starter Dillon Owen struck out Butler to bring up Bullock who hit a fly to deep right. Manney took a ill-fated step in then couldn’t get back to the ball and Bullock raced to third with a two-run triple.
With a 5-1 lead, Queck pitched around a hit batsman in the bottom of the third and the Sox went back to work on offense in the fourth. With one out, Justin Blankenship stroked a single to right, Caleb Garrett lined one to left-center and Sawyer drove his second hit between first and second. Blankenship scored easily and when the ball was mishandled in the outfield, Garrett sprinted home as well to make it 7-1.
An outfield error allowed Tullos to reach second to start the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Lance Black singled up the middle to drive him home, making it 7-2. Black took second on a wild pitch but Queck got Danny Aday to fly to left then struck out Clint Green to escape further damage.
And the Sox got that run back in the top of the fifth with the help of a two-out error and a lot of hustle by Bullock. With one out, Bullock drew a walk. Owen struck out B.J. Ellis then got Austin Benning to hit a sharp grounder to third with Bullock running on contact from first. Green’s throw to Tullos at first was in the dirt and skipped past him. As Tullos went after the ball, Bullock sprinted around third and beat a throw at the plate as Benning took second.
Owen got Blankenship to bounce back to the mound but the Sox had their 8-2 lead.
After Getchall’s double to open the fifth and the pitching change, Tate singled in a run, taking second when the throw back to the infield missed the cutoff man. Scott Chalene drew a walk then Jobe appeared to settle in. He struck out Manney but Tullos hit a chopper toward second that was misplayed on a tough short-hop. Tate scored to make it 8-4. Chalene reached third on the play then scored on a sacrifice fly by Hayes.
The inning continued when Black reached on an error and Aday drew a walk to load the bases, bringing up the potential go-ahead run. But, on a 2-2 pitch, Jobe got pinch-hitter Andrew Naeyeart to crack a hard grounder to the right side that Butler made a good play on for the final out.
Naeyeart, incidentally, injured his knee on the play and barely got out of the batter’s box.
Tullos relieved for the Express in the sixth and worked around Sawyer’s third hit and a walk to Mayall. In turn, Wells pitched out of a bit of a jam in the bottom of the inning. Getchall reached on an error and took second on Tate’s tap back to the mound. Wells then struck out Chalene on a pitch in the dirt that Ellis came up with. He appeared to tag Chalene for the out then looked to second to make sure Getchall stayed put. But Chalene continued on to first and the homeplate umpire ruled that Ellis had missed the tag. Despite protests from the Bryant coaches, the play stood, bringing up the potential tying run.
But Wells struck out Manney and got Tullos to ground out to the right side. Jobe, playing second, ranged far to his left to make the play and the score remained 8-5.
After Tullos retired the Sox in order in the top of the seventh, Owen opened the home half with a single to left. Harrison brought on Sawyer who fanned Black and Aday on just seven pitches. Pinch-hitter Justin Williams singled to left to give the Express some hope but Sawyer got Getchall to pop up to short to end the game.
BRYANT 8, LR CONTINENTAL EXPRESS 5
Black Sox ab r h bi Continental Express ab r h bi
Blankenship, rf 4 1 1 0 Getchall, lf 5 2 2 0
Garrett, cf 4 1 1 0 Tate, cf 3 1 1 1
Sawyer, ss-p 4 1 3 1 Chalene, c 3 1 0 1
Mayall, 3b 3 2 2 0 Manney, rf-1b 3 0 0 0
Jobe, dh-p-2b-ss 4 2 2 2 Tullos, 1b-p 4 1 1 1
Butler, 1b 4 0 1 1 Hayes, dh 2 0 0 1
Bullock, lf 3 1 1 2 Owen, p-3b 1 0 1 0
Ellis, c 3 0 0 0 Black, ss 4 0 1 1
Benning, 2b 3 0 0 0 Aday, 2b 3 0 0 0
Wells, p 1 0 0 0 Green, 3b 2 0 0 0
Wade, 2b 0 0 0 0 Naeyeart, ph 1 0 0 0
Queck, p 0 0 0 0 Gibson, rf 0 0 0 0
Williams, ph 1 0 1 0
Hamaker, pr 0 0 0 0
Totals 33 8 11 6 Totals 32 5 7 5
BRYANT 023 210 0 — 8
LR Continental 100 130 0 — 5
E—Owen, Manney, Blankenship, Green, Benning, Mayall, Sawyer. LOB—Bryant 7, LR Continental 11. 2B—Getchall. 3B—Jobe, Bullock. SF—Hayes.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Queck (W) 4 3 2 4 1 1
Jobe 1 2 1 1 2 1
Wells 1 0 0 1 0 2
Sawyer (S) 1 0 0 1 0 2
Owen (L) 5 8 6 10 1 5
Tullos 2 0 0 1 1 3
Queck faced one batter in the fifth.
Wells faced one batter in the seventh.
HBP—Ellis (by Owen), Tate (by Queck). WP—Queck, Jobe. PB—Chalene 2, Ellis.