NORTH LITTLE ROCK â€“ In the semifinals of the Junior American Legion State Tournament between the Bryant Everett Black Sox and Sheridan, the two teams went into extra innings tied 1-1. Everett cemented its spot in the state championship game today as Bryant scored three runs in the top of the eighth and Beaux Bonvillain, who relieved in the third inning, shut Sheridan down for the 4-1 win. Bryant also defeated Paragould 4-0 in the second game of the day on Jake Eastâ€™s shutout and will play Sheridan today at 5 p.m. in the final. Sheridan has to beat the Black Sox twice to win the title as Bryant is undefeated in the tourney.
â€śIt was a good day yesterday,â€ť Everett Coach Tyler Brown said. â€śWe did a good job. It was a dogfight. We competed and battled. They threw a guy that didnâ€™t throw a lot of fastballs. Iâ€™ve been preaching all year letâ€™s just hit a fastball. We had to change our approach at the plate a little bit. It was something different for us. We didnâ€™t square a lot of balls up. The kid did a good job of throwing strikes with breaking pitches. We kept working at it and was able to scratch some runs across in the eighth.â€ť
Sheridan starter Brady Bibb hit Cameron Coleman with a pitch to start the eighth. Jake East placed a sacrifice attempt perfectly for a single and Logan Allen was also hit by a pitch to load the bases. Connor Tatum hit a sacrifice fly for the eventual game-winner before Dylan Hurt made it a 3-1 game with an RBI infield single. Allen scored on and error by the Sheridan shortstop to give the 4-1 final.
It was a pitcherâ€™s duel throughout as Bibb allowed just four hits to Everett, but Bryant also allowed just four hits. Austin Kelly started for the Black Sox and rolled through the first inning before getting a little wild in the second and third. Sheridan loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third when the Yellowjackets reached on an error and Kelly walked two. With his pitch count high, Kelly was relieved by Bonvillain, who conveniently induced a 4-6-3 double play on his second pitch to get out of the inning. Bonvillain got the win giving up a run on three hits and no walks in 5.2 innings. He struck out three.
â€śWe got a great pitching performance from Beaux,â€ť Brown said. â€śIt was his best outing of the year. He did a heck of a job. And he came in with the bases loaded with one out and gave me a double play right off the bat. You canâ€™t ask more of a kid than what he did yesterday.â€ť
Everett played small ball to pick up its first run in the top of the sixth. East walked and Allen sacrifice bunted him to second. Tatum hit a rocket right back to the pitcher for the second out before Garrett Misenheimer, who had Bryantâ€™s only previous hit, singled up the middle to score East for the 1-0 lead.
Sheridan responded in the bottom of the inning when Lathan Wiley led off with a double, was sacrifice to third and scored on Evan Thompsonâ€™s sacrifice fly to tie it at 1-1.
Misenheimer went 2 for 3 with an RBI, East 1 for 2 with two runs and Dylan Hurt went 1 for 4 with an RBI.
Zack Jackson will start for Bryant today in the championship game.