Black Sox tune up for district

BRYANT – The Bryant Black Sox hosted the Sylvan Hills Bruins on Tuesday night in their last regular season game of the year and took care of business going into the district tournament. The Black Sox defeated the Bruins 11-1 in eight innings at Bryant High School in a solid warmup going into Saturday’s second-round tournament game starting at 1 p.m. in Texarkana.

“We got what we wanted out of it,” Black Sox Coach Darren Hurt said. “We needed to throw a lot of pitchers. We didn’t get to throw them extendedly, but every one of them did a good job. Really, we got them all in. Everybody we wanted to throw we threw. The only one we didn’t was [Josh] Pultro and we were looking to pitch an inning there at the end.”

The Black Sox (23-4) used six pitchers to get work in before the district tournament. Saturday’s game will be against the winner of Friday’s Sheridan/Little Rock Express winner. Bryant will be the No. 2 seed.

Nate Rutherford started for the Black Sox against the Bruins and pitched two scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. The only run Bryant gave up came in the third inning when Tyler Brown began his pitching stint and had trouble throwing strikes. Brown walked the first batter he faced, Austin Spears, who went to second on a wild pitch. Brown got the next two outs on a fly out and pop out before walking leadoff man Greg Atchison. Connor Eller took Brown’s first offering to him to center field for an RBI single, which got the Bruins within 6-1.

Bryant got its scoring started in the first inning when Sylvan Hills starter JD Miller walked leadoff man Hunter Mayall and Tyler Nelson. A wild pitch moved both runners up before another wild pitch scored Mayall for a 1-0 lead. Nelson scored on Jordan Taylor’s single to left field to make it 2-0 and Taylor stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and made it 3-0 when he scored on a passed ball.

In the bottom of the second inning, Brown singled to get things started and scored on Mayall’s double to center field. Mayall got hung up in a rundown between second and third base, but reached third safely and later scored on Taylor’s double to center to make it 5-0. Taylor would score on Hayden Lessenberry’s single for the 6-0 lead.

The Black Sox would score two in the third and one each in the fourth and fifth innings. Bryant had a chance to put the game away due to the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth when the Black Sox loaded the bases with one out, but Hayden Daniel hit a rocket shot lineout back to relief pitcher Dylan Boone, who caught Zach Graddy off of first base for the double play.

Bryant went in order in the sixth and left two on base (left nine on base for the game) in the seventh before Tryce Schalchlin was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give the Black Sox their 10-run mercy rule win.

The Black Sox bashed out 15 hits and held Sylvan Hills to five. Taylor went 3 for 3 with two RBIs and three runs scored and Pickett went 3 for 5 with one RBI. Mayall went 2 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, Brown went 2 for 3 with two runs and Hurt went 2 for 5 with two runs.

For the Black Sox pitching, Brown pitched two innings giving up a run, two walks and one strikeout, Hurt gave up two hits an no runs in one inning, Daniel also gave up two hits, striking out one in one inning, Pickett struck out two in one inning and Schalchlin struck out one in one inning.

Bryant ended up with the No. 2 seed after the Black Sox, Texarkana and Sheridan all ended up tied in conference play.

“It came down to run differential because we were all tied,” Hurt said. “Texarkana won the run differential. They beat us by one run in the run differential. That moved us to the No. 2 and Sheridan No. 3. The one and the two get the bye, so we needed one or the other so we got the bye.”