By Madison McEntire
GULFPORT, Miss. — Mountain Home used a pair of wind-aided doubles to break open a scoreless[more] game in the bottom of the fourth and then got the benefit of two questionable calls in the fifth inning to expand their lead and defeat the Bryant 11-year-old All-Star team 5-0 in the semifinals of the 2012 Cal Ripken Regional Tournament on Monday.
Bryant team member are Logan Catton, Cade Dupree, Coby Greiner, Will McEntire, Ryan Lessenberry, Hunter Mullings, Ty Jackson, Jacob Shepard, Jacob Coppock, Brock Bariola, Triston day, and Sawyer Webb. They manager is Michael Catton and his assistant coaches are Phillip Dupree and Madison McEntire.
Bryant batted first and Catton led off with a liner up the middle that appeared to be a hit but was snagged on a nice diving play by the shortstop. Dupree fouled off three pitches with two strikes but finally swung and missed on the ninth pitch of his at-bat. Mullings lined a single to right and then McEntire walked to put two on but the inning ended when Greiner struck out.
Greiner started on the mound for Bryant and allowed a leadoff single on a liner that fell in front of Shepard in center. After the runner stole second, Jackson made a nice diving catch on the rightfield line for the first out but the runner moved up to third. Greiner got out of the inning by getting a pop to short and then a grounder to short.
In the second, Bryant went in order as Coppock grounded to first, Shepard grounded to short and Day struck out. In Mountain Home’s half of the inning, Greiner faced four batters. After getting the first batter on a ball back to the mound, he allowed a single to the gap in left-center but got a pop to the mound and a strikeout to send the game to the third inning.
Bryant stranded two more in the third. Jackson struck out and Lessenberry grounded out to the third baseman before Catton walked and stole second. Dupree lined a single up the middle to put runners on the corners but Mullings popped to second to end the threat. Greiner worked around a single in the bottom of the fourth as he struck out the side in the bottom of the third to keep the game scoreless.
In the top of the fourth, McEntire led off and bounced a single just past the second baseman into right. Bariola ran for him but was caught stealing second for the first out and then Greiner and Coppock each fanned to end the inning.
McEntire took over for Greiner on the mound in the bottom of the fourth. The first batter hit a high fly that was helped by the breeze blowing toward right and sliced away from Shepard in center field. The next batter plated the first run of the game when he also doubled, this one on a fly to right that landed about two feet inside the line before Jackson could get to it. McEntire got a grounder to short for the first out with the runner moving to third on the throw. The next batter grounded a ball under Dupree’s glove at third to make it 2-0. Coppock fielded a sac bunt and flipped to Catton covering first for the second out and then a pop to shortstop ended the inning.
Shepard led off Bryant’s fifth inning with a solid single to center. Webb hit for Day. The Mountain Home pitcher balked Shepard to second base before Webb flied to center for the first out. Bariola hit for Jackson and was retired on a nice sliding catch by the third baseman on a foul ball near the fence. Lessenberry popped to the shortstop to end the inning.
Mountain Home expanded its lead with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. McEntire had the first batter off balance with a two-strike changeup but he was able to hit a soft liner toward Catton who charged in and scooped the ball right off the top of the dirt. But the first base umpire ruled that he had trapped the ball so Mountain Home had its leadoff batter on.
After a stolen base, a sac bunt moved the runner to third. A pop up to Coppock at first made two outs. McEntire appeared to be out of the inning when he made a nice 2-2 pitch to the Mountain Home clean-up hitter and got a ground ball to Greiner at shortstop. Greiner’s throw appeared to nip the runner at first on a close play but the umpire signaled safe and a run scored from third to make it 3-0. Two pitches later, a home run over the fence in left-center made it 5-0 before a groundball to short ended the inning.
In their final at-bat, Bryant put two on but still could not get on the scoreboard. Catton led off and grounded out to second. Dupree walked on four pitches but Mullings flied to center for the second out. After McEntire walked, a balk moved both runners into scoring position but Greiner struck out swinging to end the game.