Jr. Sox take Area 3 title

Bryant first baseman Will Hathcote takes a throw from second baseman Zion Collins completing a double play Tuesday in the Area 3 Zone Tournament championship game. The Bryant Junior Black Sox would defeat Benton Sports Shop 19-8 for the title. TONY LENAHAN/The Saline CourierBenton Sports Shop player Adam Sims smiles as he rounds the bases after his 2-run home run in the bottom of the third inning of a 19-8 loss to the Bryant Jr. Black Sox in Bryant Tuesday. TONY LENAHAN/The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

Playing for the Area 3 Junior Zone Tournament championship and a No. 1 seed heading into the Junior State Tournament at Hendrix College in Conway, the Bryant Junior Black Sox and Benton Sports Shop were playing an expected competitive game to start. Then things got out of hand. The Jr. Sox would end up winning 19-8 on Tuesday at Hornets Field in Bryant to take the Area 3 title in the 3-hour, 10-minute affair which saw 13 pitchers used between the two teams.
With Benton the home team, Sports Shop pitcher starter Dalton Pugh threw a scoreless first inning and Benton would get an unearned run in the bottom of the first when leadoff man Keaton Collatt reached on an error and eventually scored on Adam Sims’ infield single for the 1-0 lead.
The Black Sox responded in the top of the second as Slade Renfrow was hit by a pitch and Zion Collins reached on a fielder’s choice. Pugh struck the next man out for the second out before walking leadoff man Noah Davis. Brayden Lester put Bryant on top with a two-out, 2-run double to put the Sox on top 2-1.
But, Benton would tie things up in the bottom of the inning when Tristan Hawkins doubled to right field to start, stole third and scored when Bryant catcher Ryan Riggs’ throw went into left field for the 2-2 game.
Pugh was pulled after two innings and Jaden Ashalintubbi would get the first two outs in the third inning before walking Bryant’s Will Hathcote. The Black Sox took advantage as Renfrow, Collins and Speer all followed with singles, with Speer’s single scoring two runs for the 4-2 lead. Ashalinatubbi would walk the next man to load the bases before being relieved by Hawkins, who walked the next two in before inducing a line out to end the inning with Bryant up 6-2.
Sports Shop played the Little Rock Cobras for the second seed in the state tournament Tuesday night and Benton would come away with a 16-6 win to advance.