BRYANT — The Bryant Black Sox gave their pitcher all the room he needed and then some Monday night when they opened the bottom of the first with a 8-run inning thanks to a two-run home run and seven other hits to take a 8-1 lead over Pine Bluff Simmons in the loser’s bracket of the Zone 4 Senior Legion Tournament at Bryant High School.
Bryant would eventually defeat Pine Bluff 16-8 to secure a spot in the state tournament, which will be held in Jonesboro next week.
With the huge early lead, Bryant’s pitcher Tyler Nelson went six strong innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks. He gave up a solo home run in the sixth and a RBI double and RBI single in the second.
Bryant began the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles by Nelson and Tyler Brown. The Sox loaded the bases with a walk to Jordan Taylor and they tied the game at one when Hunter Mayall hit a RBI single.
Chris Joiner hit a two-run single and Josh Pultro followed with a RBI double. Brady Butler, who had three hits in the game, continued the hitting clinic with a two-run home run.
After a one out walk to B.J. Ellis, Nelson hit a RBI triple and later scored on a RBI single by Taylor. Bryant had a seven run lead by the end of the first inning.
Bryant would score a run in the third, two in the fourth, two in the sixth and three in the eighth. Pine Bluff scored a run in the first, two in the second, two in the fourth, two in the sixth and one in the ninth.
In Sunday’s game against Texarkana, the Black Sox lost 10-8 to the defending state champions. Taylor went seven innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Dylan Cross earned the loss, allowing four runs (all earned) on five hits with three walks and a strikeout.
On Monday night, Bryant added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a two-run single by Mayall that scored Brown and Taylor who both walked in the inning. Joiner hit a RBI single to plate one more run to give Bryant the 16-7 lead heading to the top of the ninth.
Pine Bluff trimmed Bryant’s lead in the second when they scored two in the second thanks to a walk, a RBI double and a RBI single. They scored two more in the fourth thanks to two errors, a single, a walk and a two-run single by pitcher Justin Dardenne.
In a game that lasted till almost 1:30 a.m. Monday morning, Pine Bluff defeated Hope 16-15 and it showed in Monday’s game against Bryant. Pine Bluff went through two pitchers in the first inning alone.
Jacob Guy pitched just one third of an inning and allowed six runs on six hits with one walk and no strikeouts. Will Jacobs didn’t fair any better as he pitched a third of an inning and allowed two runs on two hits. Both pitchers threw in the late game against Hope.
Pine Bluff’s Hunter Colson hit a solo home run in the sixth to cut Bryant’s deficit to 11-7.
Bryant’s Mayall had five hits including two RBI singles, a two-run single and a double. Hurt had three hits, scored twice and had a RBI. Nelson had three hits, with three runs and a RBI.
Brown walked twice, had two hits including a double, with two RBIs. Taylor was 2-3 with a pair of singles; two walks and was hit by a pitch. Joiner had two hits and three RBIs.