Sport Shop Sox stunned by late outburst from Genoa Central at Zone tourney

SHERIDAN — Through five-and-a-half innings, it looked like the Sport Shop Black Sox of Bryant were[more] on their way to the winners bracket finals of the Zone 4 Junior (17-and-under) Tournament. But the Genoa Central Dragons rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to spoil those plans. The 9-3 loss not only knocked the Sox into the losers bracket but ended a 10-game win streak.

Bryant is set to play the winner of Sunday evening’s game between Hot Springs Village and Lake Hamilton in an elimination game on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

The Sox hadn’t lost for nearly a month to the day. On June 9, they suffered a 7-6 setback against Dyersburg, Miss., at a tournament in Paragould. Before that, they had won three in a row on the heels of a doubleheader sweep at Genoa Central on May 29.

Against the Genoa Central Junior team on Sunday, they built a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. Right-hander Blake Patterson had shut out the Dragons on two hits to that point, facing the minimum thanks to some help from his friends on defense.

In the first, Drew Tipton reached on an error and Patterson walked but the Sox were unable to get on the board. With two out, Dakota Besancon’s shot struck Tipton who was headed to third, resulting the third out of the frame.

In the bottom of the inning, Cody Huft singled for the Dragons. Patterson struck out Lane Hughes then Cale Ridling’s fly to left was dropped. But Huft had held up at first so he was thrown out at second on the force. Jimbo Seale, the Bryant catcher, ended the inning by throwing out Ridling.

The Sox went down in order in the top of the second and Nick Purifoy led off the bottom half with a single only to have Bryant turn a doubleplay. Patterson struck out Ryan Oakes to send it to the third. 

That’s when the Sox took the lead. With one down, Tipton and Patterson each singled and moved up on a passed ball. Hunter Oglesby singled in a run then C.J. Phillips did as well to make it 2-0.

Patterson breezed through the bottom of the third, striking out a pair, and the Sox added a run in the fourth. Singles by Seale, Weston Jones and Caleb Chaffin loaded the bases for Dalton Holt who picked up the RBI with a grounder to short that resulted in a force at second.

With runners at the corners, Holt swiped second but Purifoy, the Genoa Central starter, got the next two batters to pop out to keep it 3-0.

The Dragons trimmed a run off the lead in the home fourth on a two-base error, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly by Ridling. Purifoy singled and Dillon Drabble drew a walk as GC made a bid to get another run. Oakes singled but the Sox worked the relay to nab Drabble between second and third as Purifoy held at third.

A one-out single by Phillips was all the Sox could muster in the top of the fifth and, in the home half, Patterson struck out the side but a hit batsman, a passed ball and a two-out single to center produced the run.

In Bryant’s sixth, Jones was hit by a pitch and, with two down, Tipton socked his second hit but both were stranded.

Patterson issued a walk to Ridling to start the bottom of the sixth and gave way to Justin Emmerling. Purifoy singled Ridling to third then Drabble’s sacrifice fly tied the game. A walk to Oakes and a single by Tanner Cook filled the bases so when Garrett Huff was hit by a pitch, the go-ahead run came in.

Besancon was called in to pitch and induced a grounder to short by Garrett McKamie. The ball was booted and two runs scored. Huft singled to load the bases and a run scored when Hughes bounced into a force at third, making it 7-3. Ridling singled in the eight run then Hughes came in on a wild pitch to make it 9-3 before Hunter Fletcher, batting for Purifoy, struck out to end the inning.

The stunned Sox were retired 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh by Drabble.

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