PARAGOULD — After a gut-punch of a loss to Dyersburg, Miss., in the semifinals on Saturday, the Sport Shop[more] Black Sox Junior American Legion team of Bryant showed admirable resilience and determination on Sunday when they saw a 5-4 lead disappear in the seventh, rallied from a 6-5 deficit in the bottom of the eighth then scored in the home ninth for a dramatic 7-6 win over the Cooter, Mo. Wildcats, in the third-place game at the Dr. Pepper Classic.
Hunter Oglesby scored the winning run when, with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Justin Emmerling’s single to left was misplayed. Oglesby had walked with one out in the inning then Jimbo Seale reached on an error by the Wildcats’ second baseman. Emmerling then pulled a 1-1 delivery into left that was booted in the outfield.
The Sox whacked 14 hits including three by Drew Tipton and two each for Weston Jones, Seale and Oglesby.
C.J. Phillips picked up the win in relief of Emmerling, the Bryant starter, who worked into the sixth then threw out the potential go-ahead run from right field in the top of the ninth.
Runs were scored in every inning but the fifth by one team, the other or both. Sport Shop took a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. Tipton’s first hit ignited the uprising. He stole second and reached third when Blake Patterson grounded out to short. He scored on an error.
With two down, Oglesby singled to left then Seale laced a triple to dead center to make it 2-0.
Cooter dented the plate once in the top of the second, utilizing an error, a sacrifice and a single. The Wildcats tied it in the third after the Sox stranded a pair of runners in the home second. An error, a sacrifice and a groundout produced the run.
This time, Sport Shop responded with a run in the bottom of the frame. Phillips led off with a bunt single on the first pitch of the inning. Though he was caught trying to steal, Oglesby and Seale singled. With runners at the corners, Emmerling picked up the RBI with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
The Wildcats tied it back up with a run in the top of the fourth only to have Bryant answer again to maintain the upper hand. Cooter’s run resulted from a walk, a balk and a two-out single. The Sox’ Collins Fredriksson singled to lead off the bottom of the inning, advanced on a balk, took third on a grounder to the right side by Dalton Holt then scored on Tipton’s base hit to right.
Cooter tied it again in the top of the sixth on a pair of singles and a two-out error. Back came Bryant, however, in the home sixth, regaining the edge when Jones ripped a one-out triple and scored on a single by Tipton.
Three outs from a loss, the Wildcats rallied to tie it again in the top of the seventh and when the Sox stranded a runner at second in the bottom half, the game went to extra innings.
Cooter made a bid to win it with a run in the top of the eighth. Bryant erased a lead-off single with a doubleplay on a grounder hit to Patterson at short. But a throwing error allowed the next batter to reach second and he scored on a single.
The Sox stayed alive with a tying tally in the bottom of the eighth. Jones lined a single to left with one out and, with Austin Caldwell in as a pinch-runner, Holt shot a double to right for the knot it back up.
The Wildcats made a bid to take the lead again in the top of the ninth with a lead-off single, a stolen base and a base hit to right but when the lead runner tried to score on the play, Emmerling threw him out at the plate with Seale taking the throw and applying the tag to end the inning.
The momentum from that sterling play carried over for the Sox.