By Rob Patrick
Three triples — one batting from the right side and two from the left — by Trevor Ezell highlighted[more] the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team’s 17-3 romp over the Hot Springs Lakeside Rams AA team Wednesday night at Bryant High School Field.
Ezell drove in three runs and scored a couple and Tyler Nelson snapped out of a 1-for-13 slump with a 3-for-4 night with four runs batted in and another four scored as part of a 14-hit splurge. Ozzie Hurt, Marcus Wilson and Austin Caldwell each pitched in with two hits with Caldwell knocking in three.
Right-hander Cody Gogus got his first start on the mound for the Senior Sox, surrendering three runs — just one earned — on five hits without a walk. He fanned four in his three innings of work. Nate Rutherford closed the five-inning contest with two scoreless frames, allowing just two hits and recording four of the six outs on strikes.
The wins improved the Black Sox to 19-2-1 on the season. They were scheduled to host Benton McClendon’s in a Zone 4 game tonight but the game has been postponed. There will be a AA doubleheader instead, starting at 6 p.m. The Bryant Senior team will play next on Monday, July 1, at home against Hot Springs Village before heading to Alton, Ill., in the St. Louis area, for a tournament.
Wednesday, the Sox, who came in hitting a cool .358 as a team, blitzed Lakeside starter John Barmore, starting with Ezell’s first three-bagger (the one batting right). Hurt stroked a single up the middle to plate him. Wilson’s singled was followed by Hayden Lessenberry’s long drive to left-center that was flagged down by the Rams’ Ryan Compton. Hurt tagged on the play and went to third.
After Wilson stole second, Nelson pulled a double down the right field line to make it 3-0. Chase Tucker followed with a bouncer to short. With Nelson breaking in front of the fielder on his way to third, the ball was bobbled and Tucker reached safely.
With Tucker on the move, Tipton lashed an RBI single to right. Tucker made it to third easily and, after Tipton swiped second, Caldwell’s base hit to right made it 6-0 and forced a pitching change.
Spencer Henke, who was in the original starting lineup for Lakeside as the catcher, had arrived by then and was called on to pitch. He got out of the inning despite a two-out walk to Ezell.
Gogus, after pitching a 1-2-3 first, surrendered a lead-off double to Chase Willingham, the last-minute starter behind the plate for the Rams. He advanced on a groundout off the bat of Tanner Crumpton, then scored on a wild pitch.
A pair of strikeouts around a two-out single by Barmore sent the game to the home second and the Black Sox took the next step to the blowout by scoring five times. Four walks by Hecke contributed to the inning. The first two opened the frame as Wilson and Lessenberry reached. After a double steal, Nelson found the gap in left-center for a two-run double to make it 8-1.
Hecke retired the next two batters but proceeded to set the table again by walking Caldwell and Korey Thompson to load the bases for Ezell. This time from the left side, the Sox lead-off man laced a shot to left-center, clearing the bases with his second three-bagger.
Lakeside put together a two-out rally in the third, aided by an error. Hayden Lindsey reached on a slow roller that he beat out for an infield single. Austin Softley then hit a liner to left that was misjudged. Softley made it to second and Lindsey scored on the play. Singles by Willingham and Tanner Crumpton brought Softley around to score but Tucker, from center, hit his cut-off man, Hurt, who whipped a throw to Nelson at first to nail Crumpton as he tried to scramble back after taking a big turn.
In the bottom of the inning, the Sox got those two runs back to make it 13-3. Zach Graddy walked with one down, Nelson fisted a looping single to shallow left and Tucker was plunked to fill the bases. Wild pitches by Softley, the third Lakeside pitcher, allowed Graddy and Nelson to score.
Rutherford struck out the side in the top of the fourth, working around a two-out single by Christian Lopez.
Bryant put the finishing touches on the win in the bottom of the inning with Ezell initiating things with a shot into the left-field corner for his third triple. As he had in the first inning, Hurt drove him home with a single.
Wilson drilled a 1-0 pitch beyond the centerfielder and he legged it out for yet another triple, driving in Hurt. A wild pitch from right-hander Dylan Carpenter allowed Wilson to score Bryant’s 16th run.
Nelson would score the 17th after reaching on a one-out error, advancing to second on a single to left by Tucker, taking third on a wild pitch and scoring on Caldwell’s two-out infield hit.
Rutherford closed it out, only giving up a two-out single to Softley. Taylor Street grounded to Thompson at second. He flipped to Hurt for the force to end the game.
It was a rough night for Lakeside but no more so than the home plate umpire Brad Clark who was hit five or six times by foul tips and errant pitches yet completed the game.
BRYANT 17, HOT SPRINGS LAKESIDE 3
Rams ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi
Ritter, 3b-rf 3 0 0 0 Ezell, 3b 3 2 3 3
Fisher, ss 1 0 0 0 Hurt, ss 4 2 2 2
Lindsey, cf-lf 2 1 1 0 Wilson, lf 3 3 2 1
Softley, cf-p 3 1 1 0 Lessenberry, c 1 1 0 0
Willingham, c 2 1 2 0 Graddy, c 1 1 0 0
Street, ss 1 0 0 0 Nelson, 1b 4 4 3 4
T.Crumpton, 1b 2 0 1 1 Tucker, cf 3 1 1 0
R.Crumpton, lf 1 0 0 0 Tipton, dh 3 1 1 1
Carpenter, lf-p 1 0 0 0 Caldwell, rf 3 1 2 3
Barmore, p-3b 2 0 1 0 Thompson, 2b 3 1 0 0
Lopez, 2b 2 0 1 0 Gogus, p 0 0 0 0
Watson, rf 0 0 0 0 Rutherford, p 0 0 0 0
Hecke, p-c 2 0 0 0
Totals 22 3 7 1 Totals 28 17 14 14
Lakeside 012 00 — 3
BRYANT 652 4x — 17
E—Fisher, R.Crumpton, Willingham, Hecke, Wilson, Lopez. LOB—Lakeside 4, Bryant 7. 2B—Nelson 2, Willingham. 3B—Ezell 3, Wilson. SB—Wilson 2, Tipton, Lessenberry, Nelson.
Pitching ip r er h bb so
Barmore (L) 0.1 6 5 6 0 0
Hecke 1.2 5 5 2 5 0
Softley 1 2 2 1 2 0
Carpenter 1 4 3 5 0 1
Gogus (W) 3 3 1 5 0 4
Rutherford 2 0 0 2 0 4
HBP—Tucker (by Softley). WP—Softley 2, Carpenter 3.