Sport Shop overcomes Blue in record-setting heat

BRYANT – With record-breaking heat in central Arkansas and a 101-degree game-time temperature, which actually felt like 104, the Bryant Sport Shop Black Sox hosted Little Rock Blue on Thursday and came away with a 6-2 victory at Bryant High School.

Sport Shop (13-5) took a two-run lead in the bottom of the second inning when Sox catcher Jimbo Seale singled to left field and ended up on third base after Blue starting pitcher Lance Nolan threw two wild pitches. Weston Jones walked and both players scored when Justin Emmerling hit Nolan’s first pitch to center field for a two-run triple for a 2-0 Bryant lead. Little Rock appealed and was granted their appeal of Emmerling missing second base and was called out for the first out of the inning.

Hunter Oglesby started for Bryant and stayed in hot water. Blue loaded the bases in the top of the first inning after three consecutive one-out singles. The Sox got out of the inning when second baseman Drew Tipton turned an unassisted double play scored 4-3.

Oglesby walked the first batter Hayden Mills in the top of the second and Mills stole second base. Mills was erased on J.D. Hill’s fielder’s choice and Alex Stillwell singled. After a wild pitch put the runners at second and third, Oglesby struck out leadoff man Larry Johnson on a curve ball to get out of the inning.

After Oglesby got the first two outs of the top of the third, Nolan got a single to center. Oglesby would walk the next four batters, resulting in two runs, before striking out Stillwell on a curveball with the bases loaded.

“Started off real slow,” Sport Shop Coach Tyler Pickett said. “[Sport Shop] had a long day on Sunday in Little Rock playing the Express (doubleheader). You could kind of see it kept them from going. We let them come back and we had to get them fired up after that.”

Oglesby got the first two outs again in the top of the fourth before giving up his sixth walk of the game. Left-hander Tre’ Davis relieved Oglesby and induced a fly out to get out of the inning. Oglesby finished giving up two runs on five hits and six walks in three and two-third innings. He struck out three while throwing 87 pitches.

“That’s really the only reason he was still in there,” Pickett said of leaving Oglesby in there after six walks. “He kept getting out of jams, kept getting out of jams. Finally had to go get him; thought he was exhausted. He did his job.

“A bad call here, a bad play there, a ball bounces one way or another and he may not give up a single run. He just has to work on throwing strikes early.”

Sport Shop finally got things going in the bottom of the fifth when Dalton Holt singled to left field, went to second on an error by the third baseman and Blake Patterson walked to load the bases. Oglesby hit an RBI single for the go-ahead run and Dakota Besancon hit a two-run single to make it 5-2. Seale followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to finish out the scoring.

“The last three innings were a lot better,” Pickett said. “We finally got the bats going. We just have to work on the slow starts. Can’t start slow and let teams hang around.”

Davis picked up the win for Sport Shop allowing no runs on no hits and two walks in two and a third innings. He struck out the side in the sixth inning to end the game.

Besancon went 2 for 3 with two RBIs for the Sox and Oglesby and Emmerling each went 1 for 3 with Emmerling adding two RBIs and Oglesby scoring a run and knocking one in. Patterson and Holt each went 1 for 2 with a run, and Seale went 1 for 1 with a run and RBI.

Sport Shop will play their last regular-season game on Monday when they travel to Lakeside. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.