By Rob Patrick
Lucas Castleberry and Evan Jobe fuled a five-run fourth-inning rally for the Bryant Black Sox Junior American Legion at Bryant High School Field on Wednesday.
The Sox were trailing the Hot Springs Village Knights Junior team, 5-2, going into the home fourth. The rally gave Bryant a 7-5 win, improving its record to 4-1 going into a doubleheader at home on Sunday against Little Rock Continental Express.
A one-out pinch-hit single by Blake Davidson got the Sox' comeback started in the home fourth. Chris Joiner reached on an error as Davidson hustled to third. Joiner moved up on a wild pitch before Castleberry came through in the clutch with a shot down the left field line to drive both home.
With two down, Castleberry, noticing that the Knights weren't holding him close at second, took off and stole third as Brady Butler drew a walk. Consecutive walks to Landon Pickett and Tyler Brown forced in the tying run, setting the table for Jobe's two-out liner to right on a 3-2 pitch for a two-run single that put the Sox on top.[more]
Butler, who had relieved starter Dylan Pritchett in the fourth, fanned the first two in the top of the fifth and, after a single by Michael Mendez, got the final out on a pop to second.
It was the first time either Pritchett or Butler had pitched in a while. Both struggled initially but showed some flashes along the way.
A hit batsman, a walk, a wild pitch and groundout produced the Knights' first run as Will King scored. Starting pitcher Derek McDarmick picked up the RBI. Matt Harper was hit by a pitch but then Garrett Mendez hit a fly to left that Jobe grabbed as Michael Mendez tagged at third. And he tried to score, only to have Jobe gun him down at the plate. Catcher Landon Pickett had the ball waiting for him at the dish.
Bryant tied it in the bottom of the inning. Joiner reached on an error but was forced at second on a grounder to the right side by Castleberry. Pritchett reached on an error the Butler singled in the run.
A walk to Pickett loaded the bases but McDarmick got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts.
Pritchett worked around a walk and a bloop single to right by Kyle Heller in the second. He fanned two and got some defensive help from Castleberry at third who made a tough play on a ball hit by King to retire the side.
McDarmick, in turn, surrendered only a two-out single by Joiner in the bottom of the inning.
In the third, however, the Knights took advantage of three Black Sox errors. Tyler Gattin had made a splendid play to retire Michael Mendez to start the inning but McDarmick was hit by a pitch, Harper's single to right was misplayed then Garrett Mendez reached on an error as a run scored. Pitchett struck out the next batter and appeared to be through the inning with no further damage but an error extended the inning and got a run in to make it 3-1.
In the home half of the frame, Pritchett led off with an infield hit then Butler smacked a single up the middle which was misplayed in the outfield allowing Pritchett to score. But McDarmick kept it 3-2 by getting Tyler Brown to fly out to center before Jobe bounced into an inning-ending doubleplay.
Butler relieved Pritchett in the fourth and, after Castleberry made another nice play at third to retire King, Michael Mendez singled. Pritchett did a nice job at catcher tracking down a foul pop for the second out but Harper singled then walks to Garrett Mendez and Ryan Herron forced in a run. Rowdy Scott capped the inning with an RBI single to left.
A strikeout ended the inning and started a string of three straight punchouts.
Meanwhile, the Sox put together the rally that proved to be decisive.
JUNIOR SOX 7, JUNIOR KNIGHTS 5
Hot Springs Village Bryant
ab r h bi ab r h bi
King, cf 3 1 0 0 Joiner, cf 3 1 1 0
M.Mendez, rf-p 3 1 2 0 Castleberry, 3b 3 2 1 2
McDarmick, p-1b 3 1 0 1 Pritchett, p-c 3 1 1 0
Nevel, 1b 0 0 0 0 Butler, 1b-p 2 1 2 1
Harper, c 2 2 2 0 Pickett, c-1b 1 1 0 0
G.Mendez, lf 2 0 0 1 Brown, 2b 2 0 0 1
Herron, ss 2 0 0 1 Jobe, lf 3 0 1 2
Scott, 3b 2 0 0 1 Gattin, ss 3 0 0 0
French, 1b 2 0 0 0 O'Rourke, rf 1 0 0 0
Reynolds, rf 0 0 0 0 Davidson, 1b 0 0 0 0
Heller, 2b 3 0 1 0
Totals 22 5 6 4 Totals 22 7 7 6
Hot Springs Village 102 20 — 5
BRYANT 101 5x — 7
E—French, Herron 2, O'Rourke, Gattin 2. DP—Hot Springs Village 1, Bryant 1. LOB—Hot Springs Village 9, Bryant 8. 2B—Castleberry. SB—Castleberry.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Hot Springs Village
McDarmick (L) 3.1 5 1 4 1 2
M.Mendez 0.2 2 2 1 3 0
Pritchett 3 3 1 2 2 4
Butler (W) 2 2 2 3 2 3
HBP—Harper, King, Harper, McDarmick (by Pritchett). WP—Pritchett 2. PB—Pickett.