ARKADELPHIA — In a tight, hotly-contested ballgame, the 10-year-old All-Stars from Bryant[more] and Benton engaged in a scoreless battle Tuesday night with the District Tournament championship on the line. But Benton, slugging four doubles, broke the game open with a six-run fifth and held on for a 6-1 win for the title.
Both have qualified to advance to the State Tournament in Jacksonville starting July 5.
Earlier in the tournament, Benton had held off a Bryant comeback effort to win 3-2.
The Bryant 10-year-old team is coached by Greg Riggs with assistance from Scott Allison, Scott Curtis and Matt Orender. Players are Aiden Adams, Kannon Allison, Tyler Bates, Clay Curtis, River Gregory, Will Hathcote, Cameron McDonald, Trey Miller, Justin Orender, Ryan Riggs, Austin Schroeder, Blaine Sears, Brandon Thomisee and Josh Turner.
Bates had the shutout going through four, allowing just three hits. He’d walked one and struck out four and worked out of jams in the first and fourth.
In the top of the fifth, he hit a batter, notched his fifth strikeout but then gave up the first of the barrage of doubles. A pitching change didn’t alter the course as the next five batters in succession reached base before the final two outs were recorded.
Bryant didn’t go quietly in the bottom of the inning. Sears plugged the gap in left center for a double and advance on a passed ball. He scored on a grounder to second by Hathcote.
With two down, Gregory reached on catcher’s interference but was stranded.
In the sixth, Schroeder relieved and worked a 1-2-3 frame but, in its final at-bat, Bryant could only muster a two-out walk to Orender.
In the opening inning, Benton had used a double and a one-out walk to put together a threat but Bryant turned a doubleplay to get out of the jam.
Orender singled with two down in the bottom of the inning but got no further than first.
Bates worked around a two-out error in the second then retired the side in order in the third. Sears singled in the bottom of the second and reached third thanks to a pair of wild pitches but a strikeout and a tap back to the mound ended the threat.
A one-out double and a two-out single had Benton in position to score in the fourth but Bates induced a pop up that he hauled in to retire the side with runners at second and third.
Riggs reached on an error to start the bottom of the fourth. He moved to second on Orender’s grounder to short and took third when Turner bounced out to second. But Benton escaped again with a strikeout.