Bryant 11’s finish as State runners-up

LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant 11-year-old All-Stars just couldn’t get past the rival Benton All-Stars in the Cal Ripken State Tournament.

Though they battled back past the host Junior Deputy All-Stars to get to the championship round, Bryant suffered a 5-2 loss as Benton claimed the tournament title.

Earlier in the tourney, Benton had edged Bryant 5-4 to send them to the losers bracket.

Despite the loss, Bryant’s Jake East was named Most Outstanding Player for the tournament.

The Bryant 11’s include Landon Abernathy, Logan Allen, Drew Brown, Jake East, Jeffery Hastings, Dylan Hurt, Austin Kelley, Hayden Knowles, Garrett Misenheimer, Aaron Orender, Landon Smith and Diego Vargas. Jerry East is the manager with assistance from Rick Brown and Rusty Misenheimer.[more]

Bryant fell behind 5-1 over the first four innings then tried to mount a rally in the fourth and fifth only to be held to one run.

Benton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a walk and a pair of singles.

Bryant tied it in the bottom of the inning. East singled and stole his way to third. Knowles drew a one-out walk and swiped second to set up Misenheimer’s RBI single to right. Knowles stopped at third so runners were at the corners when Orender hit a drive to right that was caught. A throw back into first arrived before Misenheimer could get back and the inning concluded.

Benton regained the advantage with a run in the bottom of the inning. A single, a stolen base and another hit produced the run.

Kelly led Bryant’s second off with a single to center but, moments later, was thrown out trying to steal second.

Benton tacked on a third run in the third inning. With two out, a single, a walk, a double steal and a balk produced the run.

Bryant, in turn, threatened again to no avail. Hastings drew a walk and East belted a double. Hastings tried to score on the play but got caught in a rundown between third and home. After he was tagged out, East stole third but the next two batters popped out to end the threat.

A two-run fourth expanded Benton’s lead to 5-1.

Bryant’s fourth started with a walk to Misenheimer. After a stolen base by Abernathy, Orender singled. He stole second to put runners at second and third with no one out. But the big hit Bryant’s Stars needed just didn’t come. After a pop out to short, Orender was picked off second then a grounder to third ended the inning.

Misenheimer, who came in to relieve Hurt the starter to start the fourth, worked a 1-2-3 top of the fifth and Bryant tried to get it going again in the bottom of the frame. A one-out walk to Hastings provided an opportunity. Hastings stole second and, with two out, Allen drew a free pass. A double steal put runners at second and third for Knowles who cracked a single to left to get Hastings home. But an infield out ended the uprising with runners at first and third.

Misenheimer pitched around a single and a walk in the top of the sixth but Bryant was retired in order in the bottom of the inning to finish it off.

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