BENTON — Caleb Garrett hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning and gave the Bryant Black Sox Senior American Legion team a three-run cushion as the Black Sox defeated Benton McClendon’s Appliance 6-3 at Bernard Holland Park Wednesday night.
With a 4-3 lead, Benton’s Coy Fitzhugh issued back-to-back walks to Pickett and Chris Joiner. However, Benton was able to double up when a fly ball to the outfield was caught and they forced Pickett out at second after he ran towards third on the hit.
A walk to Evan Jobe put runners on first and second and a walk to Hayden Lessenberry load the bases for Garrett. After Fitzhugh’s first pitch to Garrett went a little high, Benton brought in left-hander Jacob Eakens.
WIth a 2-1 count, Garrett hit a shot to right field to plate the two runs and give Bryant a comfortable lead.
Bryant’s Brady Butler, who had only given up four hits in the game, returned in the bottom of the seventh and closed the game 1-2-3, including a pair of strikeouts.
The right-hander improved to 4-0 on the season and his ERA increased to 0.98 from the 0.65 coming in.
For the Black Sox, Wednesday’s game was the second of a seven in seven days to end the regular season. They improved to 12-5 overall, but are 7-1 in Zone 4 games with three more to play. They’re eyeing the top seed for the league’s post-season tournament, which will determine the two representatives for the Senior Legion State tourney.
Bryant will host the Zone Tournament at Bryant High School starting July 15.
McClendon’s scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Tanner Bates led off with a walk and a stolen base and Gene Dunkin followed with a single. Chase Southworth’s two-run double scored both runs and a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Keeney moved Southworth to third with just one out.
However, Ryan Besancon hit a line drive to the short stop who then doubled up Southworth as he was half way to home.
Benton picked up another run in the fifth. With one out, Briar Sample walked and moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a stolen base. An error allowed Sample to score and the lead was cut to one run.
Bryant won the game despite the unavailability of 17-year-olds Jordan Taylor, Josh Pultro, Tyler Nelson and Dylan Cross who are all at the Xtra Innings Classic showcase at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
The Sox built a 4-0 lead through three innings with three of those runs scoring on wild pitches from Fitzhugh.
Garrett finished the game 3 for 4 with two singles, a double and three RBIs. He also scored a run. Pickett had three hits and Jobe was 1-2 with two runs scored.
Butler pitched seven innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Southworth was 2-3 with two RBIS while Keeney and Dunkin had the other two hits. Fitzhugh pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing six runs (all earned) on eight hits with nine walks and five strikeouts.
Earlier this week, McClendon’s defeated Little Rock Post 6-3. Keeney pitched four innings and Dunkin closed out the game with three. Bates had a hit and scored twice and Michael Pope led the way finishing the game 2-2 with a run scored.
Besancon hit a home run in the first inning and Dunkin hit a two-run double in the seventh.
McClendon’s will play Friday night at Pine Bluff beginning at 7 p.m.