July 20 in Bryant athletic history: 2009

Zone 4 Senior American Legion tournament: Bryant 5, Texarkana 3

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).

By Rob Patrick

For the sixth year in a row and the eighth time in the last nine seasons, the Bryant Black Sox have qualified for the Senior American Legion State Tournament.

They sewed up this year’s bid with a 5-3 win over the Texarkana Razorbacks in the winners bracket finals of the Zone 4 Tournament at Bryant High School Field on Sunday. A three-run third snapped a 2-2 tie and the duo of Ben Wells and Tyler Sawyer made it hold up with their efforts on the mound for the Sox, who improved  to 26-4 this season.

It was the third time in as many games that Bryant has beaten Texarkana, a team that includes players from 11 different school districts including a trio of Texans and several who played in college this spring.

And, after Texarkana ousted Benton McClendon’s later on Sunday, it too nailed down a State bid. Bryant and Texarkana will be tonight in the championship round. With a win Bryant will be the No. 1 seed from the league to the State tourney which will commence in North Little Rock on this Friday.[more]

The top of the first inning was the only half inning of the game in which one of the teams was set down in order as Wells worked a scoreless frame. In the bottom of the inning, Bryant got on the board when Justin Blankenship drew the first of six walks issued by right-hander Austin O’Donnell. Caleb Garrett followed with a bunt that he beat out for a hit and when a throw to second to try to get Blankenship sailed, he wound up at third. Tyler Sawyer’s sacrifice fly brought Blankenship home.

Hunter Mayall walked then he and Garrett worked a double steal to put runners at second and third but O’Donnell recorded the first two of his 11 strikeouts to escape with no further damage.

Texarkana tied it in the top of the second. After Wells struck out Will Wagner, Marc McRae singled to left, took second on a tap to first by Kenny Spencer, and went to third on a wild pitch. Wells got within a strike of getting out of the jam but Michael Nava, who had three hits for the Hogs, singled in the run.

Bryant’s second began with Brennan Bullock’s grounder to second that drew a wild throw which allowed him to take second. A wild pitch moved him to third then B.J. Ellis delivered a sacrifice fly to put the Sox back on top, 2-1.

Wells issued a lead-off walk to the speedy Gavan McCauley to start the top of the third but then picked him off. That cost a run when Trevor Rogers plugged to gap in right-center for a triple. Josh Stringfellow’s sacrifice fly made it 2-2. Wagner followed with a hit but was thrown out on a relay from Bullock to Sawyer to Austin Benning when he tried to stretch it into a double.

In the bottom of the inning, Garrett walked and Sawyer singled. Both moved up on a wild pitch and both scored when Mayall stroked a double to right-center. Kaleb Jobe bounced to first, moving Mayall to third and, when a throw was made to third trying to catch Mayall rounding the bag too far, it went awry and Mayall scored to make it 5-2.

A two-out error allowed Milum to reach in the top of the fourth. Nava doubled and Milum scored all the way from first to make it 5-3 with the potential tying run coming to the plate. But Wells stepped up and struck out Colt Galloway to end the inning.

O’Donnell worked around a two-out single by Blankenship in the fourth and Texarkana made a bid to trim the lead further in the top of the fifth. With one out, Rogers walked. He stole second and Wells struck out Stringfellow. But Wagner followed with a sharp single to right. Rogers rounded third and headed home but Blankenship charged hard in right, fielded the ball and fired home to nail him with Ellis, the catcher, making a swipe tag to end the inning and preserve the two-run edge.

In the sixth, Milum’s two-out infield single was followed by a base hit from Nava. Milum raced to third beating a throw from Blankenship, who missed the cut-off man. Nava headed to second only to have Mayall fire to Benning in time to end the inning.

In the bottom of the inning, Bullock beat out an infield hit that drew a late, wild throw allowing him to go to second. But he was thrown out trying to take third on a bunt by Benning. O’Donnell then struck out the next two to escape the inning.

Meanwhile, Wells worked around a lead-off single to Galloway in the seventh and, in the eight, gave way to Sawyer who pitched around a two-out error in the eighth and a two-out walk in the ninth to earn the save. He got four of the six outs on strikeouts and Jobe, playing at short, made up for the eighth-inning error by ranging to the first-base side of second to field Milum’s subsequent bouncer, getting the out that retired the side. In the ninth, Sawyer retired Nava for the first time in the game leading off the inning. He fanned Galloway, walked McCauley then struck out Rogers to end it.


Senior American Legion

Razorbacks  ab r h bi Black Sox ab r h bi

McCauley, cf 3 0 0 0 Blankenship, rf 3 1 1 0

Rogers, rf 4 1 1 0 Garrett, cf 3 1 2 0

Stringfellow, 2b 3 0 0 1 Sawyer, ss-p 3 1 1 1

Wagner, 1b 4 0 2 0 Mayall, 3b 2 1 1 2

McRae, 3b 4 1 1 0 Jobe, dh-ss 3 0 0 0

Spencer, lf 4 0 0 0 Butler, 1b 4 0 0 0

Milum, dh 3 1 1 0 Bullock, lf 3 1 1 0

Nava, ss 4 0 3 2 Benning, 2b 4 0 0 0

Galloway, c 4 0 1 0 Ellis, c 3 0 0 1

O’Donnell, p 0 0 0 0 Wells, p 0 0 0 0

Totals 33 3 9 3 Totals 28 5 6 4

Texarkana 011 100 000 — 3

BRYANT 113 000 00x — 5

E—Wagner 2, Stringfellow, Galloway, Butler, Nava, Jobe. DP—Texarkana 1. LOB—Texarkana 8, Bryant 7. 2B—Mayall, Nava. 3B—Rogers. SB—Garrett, Mayall, Rogers, Benning, Bullock. SF—Sawyer, Ellis, Stringfellow.

Pitching ip r er h bb so


O’Donnell (L) 8 5 2 5 6 11


Wells (W) 7 3 2 9 3 7

Sawyer (S) 2 0 0 0 1 4

WP—O’Donnell 3. 

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