Sox reach title game at Sheridan, rally falls short

SHERIDAN — For the second time in as many tournaments, the Bryant Black Sox 16U Junior American Legion team reached the finals. After winning the Five Tool Showcase, they made a valiant bid to win the Sheridan 17U Invitational only to have the Brinkley Patriots answer the Sox’ comeback with a run in the top of the sixth that held up for a 6-5 win in the championship game.

The Black Sox had defeated the Texarkana Razorbacks Junior team 6-0 in a semifinal prior to taking on Brinkley, a team with players from Palestine-Wheatley, Barton and East Poinsett County high schools.

As a result, the Sox are now 13-2 overall this season. The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak. They’re scheduled to host Sheridan on Monday at 6 p.m.

Bryant 6, Texarkana 0

Blaine Sears fired a four-hit shutout over seven innings and Bryant took advantage of seven walks, a hit batsman and three errors to put away the Razorbacks.

Noah Davis, J.T. Parker, Ryan Riggs, Aaron Morgan and Sears each had hits.

Sears walked one and fanned four, scattering four singles. Two of the hits came in the first when Texarkana loaded the bases only to have Sears escape with a strikeout.

A one-out walk in the second was erased when the base-runner was thrown out trying to steal by Riggs, the Sox catcher. Texarkana was retired 1-2-3 in the top of the third.

In the home half, the Sox grabbed a 2-0 lead. A bloop single by Sears instigated the uprising. A pair of passed balls allowed courtesy runner Hayden Thompson to reach third. After Lawson Speer walked, Davis delivered a sacrifice fly. Speer moved up to second on a wild pitch then scored when J.T. Parker’s grounder to short was misplayed.

Sears worked around a two-out single in the top of the fourth. Bryant loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the fourth when Sears was drilled with a pitch, Speer walked, and Davis beat out an infield hit. But they were unable to cash in.

After the Razorbacks were retired in order in the top of the fifth, the Sox added on. Riggs reached on an error and Logan White, in as a courtesy runner, stole second. Aaron Morgan singled then Colby Morrow picked up an RBI when he grounded into a force at second.

Drew Hatman reached on an error, Dakota Clay walked, and Sears came through with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.

Clay and Hatman worked a double steal with Hatman scoring on the front end before the inning ending.

A two-out single went for naught in the Razorbacks’ sixth. In turn, Davis and Parker drew walks and Riggs doubled to make it 6-0.

Sears needed just six pitches to retire the side in the top of the seventh.

Brinkley 6, Bryant 5

The Sox spotted the Patriots a 5-0 lead then rallied for five runs to tie in the bottom of the fifth. Brinkley used two walks and an error to snap the tie in the top of the sixth.

Bryant put two aboard in the bottom of the sixth when Kyler Pabon walked, and Clay singled but they were stranded.

Tyler Bates, the third Sox pitcher, set down the Patriots in order in the top of the seventh but, in the home half, Bryant was retired 1-2-3 to close out the game.

Brinkley scored twice in the first, two more in the third and once in the top of the fifth. Colton Burt had the Sox shut out to that point, but he was unable to record and out in the fifth.

Ethan Andrews led off with a walk for Bryant. Will Hathcote ripped a double then Pabon singled to drive both home. Clay earned a walk then, with one out, Speer singled to left to load the bases for Davis who came through with a two-run single to make it 5-4.

Parker hit a grounder to short and the Patriots caught Davis is a rundown. But he stayed in the hot box long enough for Speer to score the tying run and Parker to reach second with the potential go-ahead tally.

But that was all the Sox would get as Dayton Grigsby got the final out. He pitched out of trouble in the sixth and finished it in the seventh.

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