By Chan Davis
OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF
Trailing 9-5 in the top of the sixth inning, Simmons pitcher Landon Colson found himself in a bit of a jam against the North Little Rock Colts in AAA American Legion baseball action Thursday evening at Taylor Field.
Colson’s brother, Hunter, who assists head coach Dennis Dardenne, made a trip to the mound in an attempt to settle his younger brother down. It didn’t work.
Colts shortstop John Chapman took Colson’s second offering deep over the left field wall for a grand slam, the first home run of his career, and North Little Rock eased to a 13-5 win.
“I told him to hit his spot which he did,” Hunter Colson said. “My other coaches were telling me to make sure I just calmed him down and tell him to throw strikes. We don’t need any walks here. The kid just took advantage of a bad pitch.”
By the time Hunter could resume his position in the dugout, Chapman had put the game out of reach.
“I was just thinking I was glad I never did that when I pitched,” he said.
It was also a first for Landon Colson.
“That’s the first home run I’ve ever had hit off me,” he said. “I’m just going to say I am happy I made his night.”
“My first home run ever and it happened to be a grand slam,” Chapman said. “That’s pretty special.”
Colts coach John Novack said the talented middle infielder had come close before but had never cleared the mark.
“Everyone was happy for me,” Chapman said. “I’m notorious for hitting the wall and short-hopping the fence a lot. And I picked one of the biggest parks we play in to hit one out. Pretty special.”
Chapman also added a single and a walk and scored three times.
Josh Dardenne absorbed the loss for Simmons while Wes Freeland picked up the win for North Little Rock.
Bret Boyd paced Simmons at the plate with three singles, Christopher Bryan singled, tripled and had an RBI, Will Jacobs singled in a run and Pierce Sloan and Josh Dardenne singled.
Dennis Dardenne said Simmons is still on track to compete for a state title in North Little Rock, July 20-24 at Burns Park.
“We are down four players tonight,” he said. “That really hurts. We are trying to squeeze pitching because we are about to play a four-day tournament and we were basically just trying to throw and get by.”
Dardenne said he thought Simmons could steal a game without burning pitching for later in the week.
“We had an opportunity to do that but we didn’t capitalize on that,” Dardenne said. “Everyone is going to be needed (at state). And right now everyone is doing their little part. By the end we can put it all together.”