Sox’ stay in Omaha ended unceremoniously by Las Vegas team

OMAHA, Neb. — When rain washed out the last two games of pool play on Saturday, June 25, organizers of[more] the Battle of Omaha 19-and-under tournament moved things on to bracket play on Sunday, June 26. And, because they’d gone 3-0 to that point in pool play, the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team advanced to take on the Las Vegas Patriots.

After falling behind 5-2 in the first inning, the Sox eventually held an 8-6 lead in the game but Las Vegas rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie then won it with a run in the bottom of the seventh on a pair of errors, an intentional walk and a walk-off base on balls.

With the loss, Bryant fell to 9-5 on the season. The Sox were set to return to Zone 4 action on Tuesday, June 28, against Pine Bluff Simmons but the game was rained out. The next night, they hosted Little Rock Blue.

The Patriots took advantage of three walks with four hits to score five times in the bottom of the second, chasing starter Matt Neal who was relieved by Tyler Nelson. The Sox had staked out a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning on a walk to Tyler Brown and back-to-back doubles by Jordan Taylor and Landon Pickett. A wild pitch allowed Pickett to reach third but he was stranded.

The Sox cut the lead to 5-4 with two more in the second. Lucas Castleberry yanked a double down the line in left and Hayden Lessenberry singled. Caleb Garrett got a squeeze bunt down to get Castleberry home then Hunter Mayall chased in Lessenberry with a single to right. Mayall took second on the throw to the plate but was tagged out trying to get to third on Brown’s bouncer. Brown stole second but got no further.

Las Vegas tacked on a run in the bottom of the second on a hit batsman, a stolen base and a one-out single.

Nelson settled in after that and pitched around a pair of singles in the third before retiring the side in order in the fourth.

The Sox likewise were stopped in the third and the fourth but, in the fifth, they grabbed the lead. Mayall got the rally started with a double to the corner in left. Brown singled then Taylor lashed his second double to cut the lead to 6-5. Pickett was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brown scored on Josh Pultro’s grounder to third and, with two out, two runs scored when Castleberry’s grounder to short to booted.

In the bottom of the inning, however, Nelson was greeted by three straight singles. Dylan Cross relieved and induced a doubleplay ball but a run scored to make it 8-7. A walk extended the inning and a base hit tied it. The inning came to an end on the play when the base-runner from first tried to make it to third only to be thrown out by Garrett from left field.

The Sox threatened to regain the lead in the top of the sixth when Chris Joiner walked and Mayall reached on an error. After Brown lined out to third, Taylor was walked intentionally to fill the bags. But Bryant couldn’t get the hit needed and it went to the home sixth deadlocked.

Cross retired the Patriots in order but, in the top of the seventh, the Sox went down 1-2-3 as well.

The bottom of the seventh opened with an error on a grounder to third. A sacrifice attempt drew a wild throw to first and, with runners at second and third, an intentional pass loaded the bases, setting up a force at each stop. But an unintentional walk forced in the game-ending run, concluding Bryant’s stay in Omaha.

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