Photos by Kevin Nagle
TEXARKANA — The rivalry between the Bryant Blue League 6-year-old t-ball team and the Texarkana[more] Razorbacks’ t-ball squad took another turn over the weekend when the Bryant team journeyed to the Razorbacks’ back yard and captured the championship of the ArkLaTex Mothers’ Day Bash. It was the fourth time in as many tournaments that the two teams met in the finals. Bryant had won at the ArkLaTex Classic in early April but then Texarkana won in back-to-back events at Benton. This time, it was Bryant again, out-slugging the Razorbacks 21-16 in the title game.
The Bryant team members are Reid Catton, Clay Crawford, Gavin Hill, Dylan Hunt, Grant Johnson, Carson Kemp, Julius McClellan, C.J. Nagle, Aden Palmer, Andrew Schroeder, Braxton Speer and Caden Stovall. Patrick Schroeder is the head coach with assistants, Shawn Hill, Jeremy Stovall and Chad Kemp.
To get to the championship game, Bryant defeated the Vipers, 21-14 in the semifinals. In pool play, Bryant beat the Vipers 22-11 and a team from Hooks, Texas, 20-4.
Bryant 21, Razorbacks 16
Scoring the maximum of seven runs in the first two innings, Bryant established a 14-3 lead that left the Texarkana team scrambling to catch up. They cut it to 17-16 but Bryant pushed home four in the fifth to nail down the championship.
The opening salvo started with a single by Hunt. Though he was forced at second on a grounder to short by Johnson, Nagle laced a double to left and the onslaught was on. Kemp’s double was followed by a string of singles from Catton, McClellan, Crawford and Hill. A two-out hit by Speer made it 7-0.
Texarkana managed three runs in the bottom of the inning but no more and Bryant proceeded to max out in the second as well. Again, Hunt got things going with a one-out single. Johnson belted a double and Nagle came through with a triple. Hits by Kemp and Catton followed before McClellan cleared the bases with another three-bagger. Stovall doubled and Hill chased him home with a single to complete the inning.
Texarkana whittled two runs off the margin in the home second and, after holding Bryant scoreless in the third, trimmed five more from the advantage.
Bryant responded in the fourth when Johnson singled. He was forced at second on a grounder by Nagle but Kemp doubled and Catton and McClellan each singled. Crawford grounded into a force out that got Catton home, making it 17-10.
Texarkana stayed alive with a six-run fourth. In the fifth, Stovall and Hill singled then Palmer grounded into a force a third. With two down, Schroeder singled to right-center and Hunt drilled a double to the gap in left-center. Another double by Johnson made it 21-16.
Texarkana had a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning with a maximum frame but Bryant kept them off the board completely, closing out the victory.
Bryant 21, Vipers 14
Three seven-run innings produced the semifinal victory. Although the Vipers scored in every inning as well, five runs in the first and five more in the fourth was the most they could manage in a frame.
That first-inning five-spot had the Vipers ahead but Bryant countered with seven in the home first. The bulk of the damage was done with two out. Hunt singled to start the inning but was forced at second on a grounder to short by Johnson. Nagle singled but was out trying to reach second. With Johnson at third, Kemp broke the ice with a double. The hit parade the followed including singles by Catton, McClellan and Crawford before Stovall cleared the bags with a triple. Consecutive singles by Hill, Palmer and Speer capped off the inning.
The Vipers tied it with two runs in the top of the second but again Bryant trumped that with another seven in the bottom of the inning. This time, Schroeder ignited the uprising with a lead-off double to left. Hunt singled then Johnson, Nagle and Kemp belted consecutive doubles. Catton singled and McClellan drilled yet another double ahead of Crawford’s inning-crowning triple.
And when the Vipers managed just two more in the top of the third, Bryant put the game all but out of reach with its third round of seven. Stovall’s double started the inning with a double ahead of singles by Hill, Palmer and Speer. With one out, Hunt’s base hit was followed up by another pair of doubles by Johnson and Nagle before Kemp drove in the seventh run with a base knock.
Needing at least six to stay alive in the top of the fourth, the Vipers got five and Bryant advanced to the championship game.
Bryant 20, Hooks, Texas 4
Hooks took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first and Bryant answered with six. Hunt’s triple instigated Bryant’s answering outburst. With one out, Nagle doubled in the first run. Kemp singled then Catton picked up an RBI when he grounded into a force at second. McClellan doubled in Nagle and Crawford ripped a two-bagger that chased home two, giving Bryant a 4-3 edge. Stovall’s double pushed home the fifth run and singles by Hill and Palmer capped the inning.
Hooks mustered a pair of two-out hits in the top of the second but could not score. In turn, Bryant blew the game up in the home half. A single by Schroeder started the inning but he was out trying to score on Hunt’s extra-base hit. With Hunt at third, however, Johnson singled to make it 7-3. Nagle cracked a triple and, after Kemp, Catton and McClellan singled, Crawford tripled as well. When Stovall singled in Crawford, it was 13-3.
Hooks scored a run to stay alive in the top of the third before Bryant put the game out of reach with another max inning. Hill’s single started the attack then Palmer, Speer and Schroeder each blasted doubles before Hunt blasted a home run to left-center. Hits by Johnson, Nagle and Kemp finished it off.
Bryant 22, Vipers 11
After taking a 4-0 lead in the top of the first, Bryant gradually pulled away in the opener of the tournament. The key inning was the second when Bryant scored four more and the Vipers could only answer with one. Seven-run eruptions in the third and fourth put the game away for Bryant.
In the top of the first, Hunt’s opening single was followed by doubles from Johnson and Nagle. Kemp’s one-out single set up McClellan who’s double made it 4-0.
The Vipers cut it to 4-3 in the bottom of the inning and Bryant countered with four more. Palmer’s one-out single revved up the offense again. Speer’s triple chased him home then Schroeder stroked an RBI single. Hunt singled but Schroeder was thrown out rounding second. With two down, however, Johnson cracked a double and Nagle singled to make it 8-3.
After the Vipers could muster just one in the bottom of the inning, Bryant’s seven-run third commenced with a double by Catton. McClellan and Crawford each singled ahead of Stovall’s triple. Hill singled him in to make it 12-3.
With one out, Speer singled. On Schroeder’s hit, Hill was out trying to score. But a triple by Hunt kept the inning alive. Johnson singled him home to make it 15-3.
The Vipers scored twice in the bottom of the third then both teams struck for seven in the fourth before time ran out.
Bryant’s fourth commenced with a single by Nagle. Kemp doubled to left-center, Catton singled and McClellan, Crawford and Stovall drilled consecutive doubles. Hill singled but was out trying to go to second on a flyout by Palmer. A double by Speer, a single by Schroeder and a double by Hunt put the finishing touches on the inning.