BRYANT â€“ The Bryant Everett Black Sox advanced to the championship game with an 11-0 win over Jacksonville Gwatney on Monday in the American Legion Junior Regional Tournament at Bryant Hornet Field. Bryant moves on to face Texarkana, Texas, for the tournament championship needing just one more win to secure the title.
â€śThis might have been the best team win all year long,â€ť Bryant Coach Tyler Brown said. â€śWe came out and we hit the ball well and had a plan at the plate. [We] played great defense which is always a plus and had great pitching. Great team win.â€ť
Bryant (37-1) didnâ€™t waste any time putting some runs on the scoreboard. Playing as the visiting team, Bryant put up three runs in the first inning. Right fielder Drew Tipton started the game getting hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt from first basemen Dalton Holt moved the runner into scoring position while a single to left field off the bat of left fielder Evan Lee put runners on the corners. Back-to-back walks gave Bryant its first run of the game. With the bases loaded, shortstop Connor Tatum added an RBI single and second baseman Jordan Gentry added a sacrifice fly to give Bryant the 3-0 lead.
Bryant tacked on three more runs in the top half of the second inning. A single from Holt and two walks loaded the bases for Bryant. With two outs, Tatum stepped up to the plate and ripped a 3-2 pitch past the first basemen and into the corner to clear the bases as Tatum cruised into third with a three-run triple giving Bryant a 6-0 lead.
Three was the magic number for Bryant again in the fourth inning. A double to centerfield off the bat of Holt opened up the inning. After a fly out, designated hitter/pitcher Blake Patterson singled to put runners on the corners with one out. A sacrifice fly from centerfielder Hunter Oglesby pushed Bryantâ€™s lead to 7-0. Later in the inning, Gentry added an RBI single and an error in right field allowed another run to come across the plate and extend Bryantâ€™s lead to 9-0.
Bryant went on to add two more runs in fifth inning to put the mercy rule in play. An RBI single from Holt and a sacrifice fly from Patterson put the final margin at 11-0 as Bryant used solid pitching and terrific defense to close out Jacksonville in the bottom half of the fifth inning.
Dakota Besancan earned the win after pitching 2.1 innings allowing no runs on one hit with two walks and four strikeouts. Patterson pitched 1.2 innings allowing no runs on two hits with one walk and one strikeout. Holt closed out the game allowing no runs on one hit and a walk. Derek St. Claire took the loss for Jacksonville going two innings allowing six runs (all earned) on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
Bryant was led at the plate by Tatum who finished 3 for 3 with four RBI and a run scored while Holt also added a 3-for-3 performance with an RBI and three runs scored. Jacksonville was led by their catcher Greg Jones who finished 2 for 2.
Brown believes his boys are up for the challenge to finish off the tournament with a win. â€śThis is the last day. This is the last game of the year,â€ť he said of todayâ€™s game vs. Texarkana. â€śThere is no tomorrow after that championship game. They know whatâ€™s at stakeâ€¦weâ€™re going to be ready. Weâ€™re going to get our minds right and weâ€™re going to come ready and give them our best shot.â€ť
Bryant looks to take the tournament title with a win against Texarkana with the first pitch set for 4:30 p.m. at Bryant Hornet Field. If Texas wins the first game, they will force a winner-take-all game with the first pitch set at 7:30 p.m.