In their opening game of the summer, Simmons showed signs of rust as the Bryant Black Sox swept them in a doubleheader on Tuesday at Taylor Field.
“They are real good and they are well coached and got plenty of depth,” Simmons head coach Dennis Dardenne said. “They should be winning [the state championship] again from what I’ve seen.
“He’s got some good ones.”
Bryant defeated the Pine Bluff Senior American Legion team 12-0 in five innings in the first game and 7-1 in four innings in the second game.
“We didn’t hit the ball,” Dardenne said. “We knew we were going to be short tonight because we still have some key players still out.
“We get them all together and we’ll bounce back.”
In the first game, Bryant tallied six runs in the top of the fifth as the Black Sox sent nine batters to the plate thanks to three hits and four walks.
With one out, Simmons walked three straight to load the bases. After a fly out to center field, Bryant’s Ozzie Hurt hit an RBI single and a second run scored on a balk.
Hayden Lessenberry hit a three-run home run to left field to give Bryant the 12-run lead. Lessenberry also hit a home run in the first inning of the second game to give the Black Sox a 2-0 lead.
The balk was called after Simmons pitcher Jaylen Jackson faked a throw to third and then back to first. Although it is still a legal move in high school, American Legion follows the same rules as major league baseball.
Simmons walked 11 batters in the first game.
“We can’t defend against the walk,” Dardenne said. “We are going to have to get better at that.
“Everybody’s been off for a couple of weeks. We will bounce back.”
In the first game, Bryant also scored four runs in the first and two in the fourth. Trevor Ezell, who has six hits in the first three games, finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs and a walk.
Simmons managed just two hits in the first game.
Josh Dardenne took the loss after pitching three innings, allowing six runs on two hits with five walks and two strikeouts. Jackson pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on three hits with six walks. Justin Dardenne faced one batter in the top of the fifth and struck him out.
Bryant’s Tyler Nelson pitched a complete game, allowing just two hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Simmons’ only run of the doubleheader came in the second inning of the second game.
Jackson led off the inning with a walk and after a stolen base and a passed ball, Jackson scored on an RBI single by Garrett Dedman. Back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning.
Bryant scored five runs in the top of the second as they sent 10 batters to the plate. Austin Caldwell, who did not play in the first game, had a two-run single in the inning. He finished the game 2 for 3 with two RBIs.
Simmons’ Chris McCullough took the loss after pitching just one inning. He allowed four runs on three hits with three walks and no strikeouts. Nick Hefley pitched three innings, allowing three runs on six hits with four walks and no strikeouts.
Bryant’s Hayden Daniel is credited with the win. He pitched three innings, allowing one run (earned) on one hit with two walks and four strikeouts. Tryee Schaclin pitched one inning and did not allow a hit.
Lessenberry finished the second game 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Ezell walked twice, was hit-by-a-pitch and scored two runs.
Simmons will play at Sheridan on Friday.