Wright fuels Sox’ rally past Missouri champions

Photo courtesy of Madison McEntire

NEW ORLEANS — Jake Wright’s two-run homer picked the Bryant Black Sox off the mat in the top of the sixth inning. Then he singled in the tie-breaking run in the top of the seventh. Scott Schmidt fanned two as he retired the side in the bottom of the seventh as the Sox rallied past Jefferson City Post 5 for a 3-2 win in the second round of the Mid-South Regional Tournament at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium on Thursday.

Bryant advances to the winners’ bracket final against the Tupelo 49ers, a team stacked with college players and commits, on Friday around 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon.

Tupelo advanced with a 2-0 win over Gonzales, La., on Thursday. In elimination games, Columbia, Tenn., survived at the expense of Cape Girardeau, Mo., 9-8; and host team Retif Oil of New Orleans ousted Salina, Kansas, 1-0.

Coby Greiner, on in relief of starter Myles Buck, worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the bottom of the fourth and blanked Jefferson City over three innings, picked up the win with Schmidt earning the save.

Wright, who flew out and struck out in his first two at-bats, came up in the sixth after Logan Catton had led off with a single to left. His blast made it 2-2.

The Sox threatened to take the lead. Schmidt walked with one out, took second on Matthew Sandidge’s groundout but had to hold when Logan Grant beat out an infield hit to third. Both were stranded as Jefferson City reliever Gage Bax got Peyton Dillon to ground to short.

Greiner issued a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, but he got Zach Stiles to hit a sharp grounder to Catton at third. He started an around-the-horn doubleplay to send it to the seventh.

With one out, Logan Chambers, who had been frustrated to that point, drilled a sinking liner to right that evaded the diving attempt at a catch by the right-fielder. Chambers legged out a double. Catton’s second hit was an infield knock to deep short that advanced Chambers to third.

After a conference on the mound, Wright worked it to a 1-1 count then chopped a single to left, plating Chambers with what proved to be the game-winner.

Schmidt fanned Bax and Michael Skinner. Zach Woehr took a strike then flew out to Wright in left, appropriately enough, to end the game.

The Missouri state champions managed their lone two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Woehr singled to center then Parker Schneiders hit a grounder to Chambers in the hole at short. There was no play at second so he rushed a throw to first that sailed over the head of Dillon. Wright, catching at the time, was backing up and retrieved the ball.

Woehr took third and when he realized that home plate was left uncovered, scrambled in to score.

The Sox turned a doubleplay but Joe Travis singled and took second on a wild pitch. Mason Hansen’s single made it 2-0.

Bryant made a bid to get on the board in the top of the second when Schmidt walked and Matthew Sandidge single to right. With one out, Dillon was hit by a pitch to load the bases with Greiner coming up.

Perhaps the Sox’ best bunter, Greiner tried to get a safety squeeze down, but he popped it up. Hansen, the Jefferson City first baseman, charged in and made a sliding catch, then threw to third to double up Schmidt, ending the threat.

Buck eased through the second and Travis set down the Sox in order in the top of the third. Buck then fanned two in a 1-2-3 home third.

Sandidge managed a two-out single in the top of the fourth but was stranded. In the home half, Travis singled up the middle on a 1-2 delivery then Hansen double to left.

Buck gave way to Greiner who struck out Drew Bax. With the infield in, Stiles hit a two-hopper right to Chambers at short. He threw home in time for Cade Drennan to tag out Travis.

With Jacob Adrian at the plate, Greiner fell behind 3-0 in the count but came back to make it 3-2 before he picked Hansen off third to escape with the lead still just 2-0.

After the Sox were set down in the top of the fifth, Jefferson City threatened again. Adrian singled, and Skinner was struck by a pitch bringing up the top of the order. Greiner got Woehr to bounced into a force at second Schmeiders flew out to Grant in shallow center as the runners held. A wild pitch allowed Woehr to take second as Adrian held at third. Hayden Hirschvogel drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, loading the bases but Greiner struck out Travis to send it to the sixth.

It was the only time in the game that the Sox retired Travis.


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