Sport Shop Sox solid in between rugged start, finish in opener

By Rob Patrick

For five innings, there was only one hit between the teams in Friday night’s game between the[more] Bryant Sport Shop Black Sox AA team and the Pine Bluff National Bank AA squad in a pool play game in the second annual Ryan White Memorial Tournament.

But there were five runs as the Bankers took advantage of some first-game jitters by the young Sox. And, combined with the pitching of Pine Bluff right-hander Tyler Zuber, the ultimate result was a 10-2 decision over Bryant.

Zuber, a right-hander who was a senior at White Hall High School this spring and has already committed to pitch at Arkansas State University next year, didn’t give up a hit until Daniel Darbonne scratched one out on a grounder in the hole at short with two down in the fifth inning.

Though it wound up being the lone hit for the Sox, they still scrapped for a pair of runs in the fifth to cut Pine Bluff’s lead to 5-2. But the Bankers scored five more in the top of the sixth to put the game away.

Pine Bluff only managed six hits itself and only three of its runs were earned.

Pool play will continue for both teams today with the Bankers playing the Cabot Junior team at 2:30 p.m. then taking on the Pangburn AA team at 7:30 p.m. Sport Shop plays at 5 p.m., against the Texarkana Junior team.

Pool play concludes on Sunday at Bryant High School Field then the tourney switches to Hot Springs Lakeside on Monday for bracket play. Lakeside is hosting two pools of three teams each over the weekend as well.

Three walks, two errors — including one on a ball that might’ve turned into an inning-ending doubleplay after just two runs had scored — along with one soft single, produced Pine Bluff’s five first inning runs. Bryant right-hander Cody Gogus, getting his first game moundwork since last summer, settled in after that and wound up retiring eight of the last nine batters he faced through three innings.

Lefty Tre Davis relieved in the fourth and surrendered a bunt single to Jase Wilson with one out but when Bryant center fielder Chase Tucker made a spectacular catch in right-center on a drive by Landon Reed, Wilson was doubled up when he couldn’t get back to first in time.

Meanwhile, Zuber, who led his Pine Bluff team to the AA Legion State championship last summer, pitched around a two-out walk in the first to Justin Emmerling and proceeded to retire nine straight before issuing a pass to Gogus in the bottom of the fourth.

Bryant made it interesting in the fifth, however, though Tucker was beaned by the second pitch of the inning and had to come out of the game with a cut above his left eye. Bradley Plunkett came in to run for him and advanced on a passed ball. With one out, Zuber walked C.J. Phillips on a 3-2 delivery as Plunkett was stealing third. Reed, the Pine Bluff catcher, threw past third baseman Daniel Gray and Plunkett was able to scramble home.

Phillips moved up to third on a passed ball then scored on a wild pitch to give the Sox two runs without a hit. With two down, Darbonne beat out his single and stole second but Zuber ended the threat there with his 11th strikeout of the game.

And the Bankers responded with some scrappy offense in the top of the sixth. Justin Archer beat out an infield single then Hale got a bunt down for a hit. B.J. Pullman followed with a bunt but reached when a throw to first was errant, loading the bases.

A bloop single by Gray got a run in and when the throw back to the infield was off target, Hale scored as well. Pullman, who wound up at third, would score on a wild pitch then Gray came in on Wilson’s groundout to make it 9-2 with only one ball barely getting out of the infield.

Davis was tiring by that point and, after a walk to Reed, gave way to right-hander Devon Fuquay. Reed eventually scored on an infield hit off of Fuquay’s glove before he could get the final out on a pop to Nick Kehrees at short.

The Sox were then retired in order by Hale in the bottom of the sixth to finish off the game.

PINE BLUFF NATIONAL BANK 10, BRYANT SPORT SHOP BLACK SOX 2

AA AMERICAN LEGION

PBNB ab r h bi BLACK SOX ab r h bi

Reed, c 2 2 0 0 Martindale, lf 3 0 0 0

Johnston, cf 3 1 0 0 Kehrees, ss 3 0 0 0

Quickel, rf 4 0 0 0 Emmerling, 1b 2 0 0 0

Zuber, p-ss 3 1 1 1 Gogus, p-dh 1 0 0 0

Archer, ss 4 2 2 1 Fuquay, pr-p 1 0 0 0

Hale, lf-p 3 2 1 0 Tucker, cf 1 0 0 0

Pullman, 1b 1 1 0 1 Plunkett, pr-cf 0 1 0 0

Gray, 3b 3 1 1 2 Oglesby, rf 1 0 0 0

Wilson, 2b 3 0 1 1 Chaffin, ph 1 0 0 0

Brooks, rf 0 0 0 0

Graddy, c 1 0 0 0

Phillips, c 0 1 0 0

Jones, 3b 2 0 0 0

Darbonne, 2b 2 0 1 0

Davis, p 0 0 0 0

Totals 26 10 6 6 Totals 18 2 1 0

Pine Bluff 500 005 — 10

BRYANT 000 020 — 2

E—Gogus, Kehrees, Emmerling, Reed, Davis, Tucker. LOB—Pine bluff 4, Bryant 2. DP—Bryant 1. SB—Plunkett, Darbonne. S—Pullman.

Pitching ip r er h bb so

Pine Bluff

Zuber (w) 5 2 0 1 3 11

Hale 1 0 0 0 0 2

Bryant

Gogus (L) 3 5 1 1 3 5

Davis 2.1 5 2 3 1 2

Fuquay 0.2 0 0 1 1 1

Balk—Fuquay 2. HBP—Tucker (by Zuber). WP—Zuber, Gogus 2, Davis. PB—Graddy, Reed 2. 

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