BRYANT – The Simmons senior American Legion baseball team ran into a hornets’ nest Tuesday night as they lost to the Bryant Black Sox 11-2 in a nine-inning game at Bryant High School.
“They got everything they need,” Simmons manager Dennis Dardenne said. “They’ve got good pitching, good hitting, and they have a good chance of winning state again.
“I think they have a real good ball club.”
Simmons was shut out through the first seven innings but managed to scrape a couple of runs together in the top of the eighth thanks to a bad throw by Bryant.
With one out, Josh Dardenne singled and Nick Hefley double to put runners at second and third. An error at shortstop allowed Justin Dardenne to reach first and for both runners to score.
A walk to V.J. Dickson put runners at first and second with still just one out, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning.
Bryant pitchers struck out 12 batters in the game, including eight by starter Chase Tucker.
Tucker is credited with the win after pitching four innings, allowing just two hits with one walk.
He helped himself out at the plate as well, finishing the game 3 for 3 with two RBIs.
Bryant took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first after the first four batters of the inning reached with hits including a lead off triple by Trevor Ezell.
Ozzie Hurt hit a RBI single to plate Ezell and Hurt later scored on a RBI single by Hayden Lessenberry. Lessenberry finished the game 2 for 2 with two RBIs.
For Simmons, Josh Dardenne is tagged with the loss after he worked 3 1/3 innings. He allowed eight runs (all earned) on 10 hits with two walks and one strikeout.
Dickson pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits with four walks and one strikeout. He pitched fairly well, escaping a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh, but unraveled in the eight allowing a pair of walks and a double before being pulled.
Taylor Stintt closed out the game, and allowed one run (earned) on one hit with two walks.
Bryant (26-3) scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 8-0 lead.
After a pair of singles by Korey Thompson and Ezell, Hurt moved the runners over to second and third on a sacrifice bunt.
Marcus Wilson hit an RBI triple to right-centerfield to score both runners. With two outs, Hayden Daniel walked and stole second.
A single by Tucker plated both runners and gave Bryant the eight-run lead.
In the top of the fourth, Simmons had a opportunity to get a couple of runs but a couple of base-running errors proved costly as they came up empty again.
Justin Dardenne led off with a triple to start the inning and Dickson followed with a walk.
During a pick-off attempt at third, Dickson was able to take second on the play, but Dardenne took off towards home and was thrown out.
Back-to-back strikeouts by Simmons ended the inning.
Landen Colson had a double in the top of the second and Chris Bryan had an infield single in the top of the fifth.
Bryant also scored two runs in the third and three in the bottom of the eighth.
For the Black Sox, Cody Gogus pitched three innings, allowing just one hit with three strikeouts. Austin Caldwell pitched two innings and allowed two unearned runs on two hits with one strikeout.
Simmons will play again against North Little Rock at 6 tonight at Taylor Field.