SEARCY — In a final tune-up for the post-season, the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team waited out nine walks and took advantage of three hit batsmen and three errors with six hits in a 9-2 win over Searcy on Wednesday night.
Myers Buck and Matthew Sandidge each had two hits and a trio of Bryant pitchers held Searcy to two runs on four hits and two walks while fanning five.
Konnor Clontz worked the first four frames, Slade Renfrow pitched the fifth and Coby Greiner finished up with two innings of shutout relief.
Both Bryant and Searcy open play in the Area 3 District Tournament at Bryant High School Field on Friday. Searcy will take on Little Rock Post 1 at 5:30 p.m., followed by Bryant’s game against Benton at around 8.
The tourney will determine which two teams represent the zone at the State Tournament at Hendrix College in Conway the next weekend.
Bryant had traveled to Morrilton on Tuesday for a game between the defending Senior Legion State champion, Bryant, against the defending AA Legion State champion but, after Bryant scored four runs in the top of the first, Will Hathcote had faced one batter in the bottom of the inning and storms hit Morrilton and washed the game out.
Bryant thus enters the post-season, 33-7-1, with designs on defending its State title, Regional title and returning to the American Legion World Series.
Wednesday game was tight until the Sox erupted for five runs in the top of the fifth inning. Searcy used eight pitchers in the seven-inning contest.
Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the first when Logan Chambers drew a lead-off walk, took second on an error and scored on Cade Drennan’s double.
In the second, Buck and Sandidge singled, Peyton Dillon sacrificed them to second and third before Chambers worked a two-out walk but they were stranded.
Clontz retired the first six in a row before giving up a trio of singles in the bottom of the third as Searcy tied it.
In the fourth, he hit a couple of batters with one out but wound up striking out the side to keep it deadlocked.
Chambers ignited the game-breaking uprising with a single to right. He stole second and took third on a wild pitch as Drennan worked a one-out walk. Logan Grant was drilled by a pitch to load the bases and Scott Schmidt waited out a walk to force in the tie-breaking run.
Buck then cracked a double to left to make it 4-1.
After Sandidge walked to fill the sacks again, Dillon grounded into a force at second, picking up an RBI. When Dillon stole second, he drew a throw and Buck swiped home to make it 6-1.
A walk, a stolen base and sacrifice put a runner on third with two out for Searcy in the bottom of the fifth. A wild pitch made it 6-2 before Renfrow got the final out on a tap to Dillon at first.
Walks to Chambers, Wright and Drennan loaded the bags in the top of the sixth. A run was forced in when Grant was plunked for the second time in the game. Schmidt walked to force in another tally then Buck came through with a sacrifice fly to set the final score.
Greiner worked around a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, inducing a doubleplay ball to short from the next batter.
In the seventh, a slow roller that ticked off the glove of the pitcher, went for the only hit that Greiner allowed. He retired the next three in a row to end the game, finishing in style with a strikeout.