July 3 in Bryant athletic history: 2010

Win over host team sends Senior Sox to championship round at Classic

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — With five players returning from college rosters and six players headed to college to continue their careers this fall (including one to the SEC’s Tennessee Volunteers), the host Columbia, Tenn. Post 19 Senior American Legion team figured have the Bryant Black Sox (made up mostly of 17-year-old players) over-matched.

The two teams met in the third round of pool play on Friday, July 2, at Columbia’s Independence Day Classic and the Sox stunned their hosts with two runs in the top of the seventh on a clutch two-out, two-run single by Lucas Castleberry, to snap a 6-6 tie.

Ben Wells (signed by the University of Arkansas and drafted by the Chicago Cubs) came on to work a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh as the fourth pitcher Black Sox pitcher to save an 8-6 win that clinched the top seed from the pool in the single-elimination championship round set to begin on Saturday.[more]

The Sox were set to wrap up pool play against Jackson, Tenn., early Saturday before advancing. And they’re in a position to make a strong bid for the title with Davidson having pitched only 1 2/3 innings and Wells just 2 frames. Manager Darren Hurt expected to use everybody else against Jackson since the game has no bearing on his team’s fate.

Castleberry’s hit came after Jordan Taylor had been hit by a pitch to start the seventh, and Chris Joiner shot a single to right center. With one down, Blake Davidson grounded to third to advance the runners.

Davidson had pitched a scoreless sixth after getting out of a jam in relief of Matt Neal in the fifth. Neal had come on in the fourth to relieve starter Landon Pickett inducing a doubleplay then picked off the runner at third to preserve Bryant’s 6-5 lead.

Columbia managed an unearned run against the Bryant starter in the opening inning. A one-out error and a stolen base put Tyler Baler in position to score on a two-out single by Blake Rogers.

But Pickett retired the next four in a row and the Sox put together a six-run second. Brennan Bullock walked with one out but was forced at second on a grounder by Pickett. Castleberry singled then a wild pitch moved runners to second and third for Dylan Cross who was hit by a pitch to load the bases. So when Tyler Brown was hit by a 2-2 delivery, it forced in a run.

Hunter Mayall worked a walk to force in another, giving Bryant a 2-1 lead then a walk to Caleb Garrett made it 3-1. Jordan Taylor singled to drive in Brown then both Joiner and Bullock were hit by pitches to keep the line moving.

Columbia finally made a pitching change as ace Workman got the final out but it was 6-1.

Columbia rallied in the bottom of the third. K.J. Roberts doubled and Kendall Keaton walked. After a passed ball, Baler plated a run with a sacrifice fly. Pickett then struck out No. 3 hitter Derrick Armstrong but Rogers doubled in a run, Jake Ray singled in another and David Horne doubled to make it 6-5. Pickett preserved the lead by getting Kyle Brochu to fly to right.

Workman, including the final out of the third, retired 10 Bryant batters in a row while his teammates eked out the tying run in the fifth after the Sox had picked off a runner and turned an inning-ending doubleplay in the fourth to diffuse a two-on, no-out situation.

With one out in the fifth, Rogers walked and stole second. Neal struck out Ray but an intentional walk was issued to Horne. Brochu foiled that strategy with a base hit to tie the game before Davidson came on to strike out Daniel Holcomb to end the inning with runners at first and second.

Bryant made some noise in the sixth when Castleberry reached on an error and Cross singled up the middle. An infield hit by Brown loaded the bases but Mayall popped out to third then Garrett hit a liner to Holcomb at second. A throw to first doubled up Brown to end the threat.

Davidson gave up a one-out single to Keeton in the sixth but a pop by Baler was caught by the pitcher then Armstrong fanned to send it to the seventh.

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