Bryant stays alive, forces de­cider with Texarkana

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SCOREBOARD - AMER­I­CAN LE­GION STATE TIM COOPER

CON­WAY — Staked to a four-run lead even be­fore he stepped onto the Hen­drix Col­lege mound, Bryant’s Aaron Oren­der never al­lowed Texarkana to come up with a big in­ning Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon.

Oren­der sur­ren­dered 9 hits, 2 walks and hit 2 bat­ters, but pitched 7 strong in­nings as the Black Sox routed the Ra­zor­backs 13-4 in the Amer­i­can Le­gion AAA State Tour­na­ment. The two teams will face each other again at noon to­day in the cham­pi­onship game at Hen­drix.

The win­ner of to­day’s game will qual­ify for the Mid-South Re­gional in New Or­leans. The Arkansas state cham­pion will play Ten­nessee’s state cham­pion at 9:30 a.m. Wed­nes­day.

Oren­der struck out five and ben­e­fited from two dou­ble plays as Bryant (32-6) gained some mea­sure of re­venge af­ter suf­fer­ing a 6-1 loss to Texarkana in the win­ners bracket fi­nals Fri­day.

“It def­i­nitely makes you feel bet­ter, es­pe­cially against a team like that,” said Oren­der, a 2016 Bryant High grad­u­ate. “Hav­ing a four-run lead with the de­fense we have back­ing me up pretty much means you can win any ball­game.”

Bryant Man­ager Dar­ren Hurt said Oren­der did a good job of keep­ing his pitches close to the bat­ters’ knees.

“He throws a lot of fast­balls and he throws a lot of strikes,” Hurt said. “He ac­tu­ally walked more to­day than

he nor­mally does but he just goes up there and com­petes. … He’s go­ing to chal­lenge you.”

Texarkana (32-9) had played four con­sec­u­tive er­ror­less games com­ing into the con­test but were guilty of six er­rors Sat­ur­day, in­clud­ing three in Bryant’s five-run sev­enth in­ning. The Ra­zor­backs also left 13 run­ners stranded.

“We beat our­selves,” Texarkana Man­ager Dane Peavy said. “Made six er­rors. You don’t win any game mak­ing six er­rors. We’ve just got to play bet­ter de­fense and pick up some runs when we need to.”

Seth Tucker, Matthew San­didge and Scott Schmidt drove in two runs each for Bryant, which banged out 11 hits against Texarkana pitch­ers Kaden Tol­lett and Austin Stub­ber. Jake East led Bryant, go­ing 3 for 5 with a dou­ble and three runs scored. Tucker and Lo­gan Allen had two hits each.

Texarkana’s Ri­ley Orr went 3 for 5 with a dou­ble. Team­mates Parker Rib­ble, John Michael Russ and Cole Boyd each added two hits.

Rib­ble lined a two-run dou­ble to left field in the fourth in­ning that cut Bryant’s lead to 6-3, but two un­earned runs by the Black Sox in the sixth turned the game back in Bryant’s fa­vor.

“Giv­ing up four runs in the first shouldn’t have fazed us,” Peavy said. “We know we’ve got a long game in front of us. We made it 6-3 and should have scored an­other run. But things hap­pen. They put the pres­sure on us on the basepa­ths and that’s what we ex­pect from [Bryant]. We just didn’t cap­i­tal­ize, ex­e­cute and do the things that we needed to do.”

The Black Sox scored three runs Sat­ur­day on sac­ri­fice bunts.

“When you’re play­ing a game against [Texarkana], you know they’re go­ing to come back,” Hurt said. “They’re go­ing to scratch back at you. … That’s why we did some things to keep adding a run or two. We wanted to make the [lead] as big as we could.”

Bryant bat­ted around in both the first and sev­enth in­nings. San­didge and Schmidt each had two-run sin­gles in the first. Tucker belted out a two-run sin­gle in the sev­enth.

Lo­gan Allen pitched the eighth and ninth in­nings to com­plete Bryant’s vic­tory.


Bryant ral­lied from a 3-0 deficit ear­lier in the af­ter­noon to elim­i­nate Fort Smith.

Bryant scored all five of its runs in the sixth in­ning, with Lo­gan Allen’s tworun sin­gle cap­ping the scor­ing. Four of those runs were un­earned.

My­ers Buck earned the vic­tory de­spite giv­ing up 13 hits. Buck struck out six and walked one. Bos­ton Heil worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the eighth in­ning. Beaux Bonvil­lain struck out the only two bat­ters he faced to col­lect the save.

Fort Smith left nine runs stranded, in­clud­ing five in the fi­nal two in­nings.

Dy­lan Hurt, Alex Shurtl­eff and Ja­cob Wright drove in one run each for Bryant.

Max Fra­zier hit a two-run sin­gle in the first in­ning for Fort Smith. Gar­rett Carter and Jake Mel­ton also drove in a run each for the Sports­men (33-11).

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