By Madison McEntire
GULFPORT, Miss. — The Bryant 11-year-old All-Star team finished pool play on Saturday in the 2012 Cal Ripken Regional[more] Tournament with a 2-1 record that made them the number four seed for bracket play which begins today.
In the final pool play game, the leadoff batter for George County, Miss., homered to center on the first pitch of the game but Bryant plated two runs in four different innings to cruise to an 8-1 win. The previous night, Bryant had posted a 10-0 run-rule win over Oak Grove, Miss., in a game that began around 10:30 p.m. and ended well after midnight.
Members of the Bryant team 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 8, George County, Miss. 1
George County batted first and the leadoff batter smacked Greiner’s first pitch for a home to left-center. But that would be its only run of the game and one of only four baserunners. Greiner quickly settled down and retired the next three on a soft pop to Dupree at third, a grounder to short (with Coppock making the tag on a wide throw) and a grounder to first.
Bryant grabbed the lead in its first at-bat. Catton reached when the right fielder dropped his flyball. With Bariola at the plate, Catton stole second and took third on a close play when the pitcher bounced one in front of the plate. Bariola struck out but Catton came in to score on a wild pitch. Coppock walked and advanced all the way around to score on three wild pitches as Dupree walked. Mullings dumped a single just inside the right field line to put two runners on. The inning came to end as Webb’s grounder to short forced Dupree at third and Greiner grounded to second.
In the second, Greiner got the first batter on a hard liner to Day at second that he knocked down and threw to first for the out. The next batter popped back to the mound and then Dupree ended the inning with a diving catch of a foul ball near third base.
Bryant tacked on two more in its half of the second. Day was hit by the first pitch and then stole second. He took third on a wild pitch before Jackson popped to second. Lessenberry followed with a bunt in front of the plate and legged it out when the pitcher held the ball rather than throw, holding Day at third. After Lessenberry, Catton rolled a grounder to second on an 0-2 pitch to score Day and move Lessenberry up. Jackson, as a courtesy runner for Lessenberry, broke for home on a wild pitch only to have the ball carom off the wooden backstop right back to the catcher. He managed to stay alive in the ensuing rundown and scored when the catcher made an errant throw to third. Bariola grounded out to second for the final out but Bryant’s lead was 4-1.
Greiner set George County down in order again in the top of the third on pop flies to second and third and on a sliding catch of a foul pop near third by Dupree.
In the bottom of the third, Bryant plated two runs for the third consecutive inning. Coppock struck out and Dupree flied to right before Mullings started the rally with a double over the left fielder’s head. Webb’s grounder to second was bobbled then the ball was thrown wildly to first, allowing Mullings to score and Webb to reach second. Greiner followed with a bloop single to right that scored Webb. Day fanned for the third out but the score was 6-1.
McEntire replaced Greiner on the hill in the fourth and quickly got a grounder to the mound and two grounders to short to send the game to the bottom of the fifth. Bryant threatened but did not score. Jackson led off with a pop that landed among three fielders just beyond the third base bag. He stole second as Lessenberry struck out. Catton flied to center for the second out before Bariola reached on an error by the first baseman that moved Jackson to third. Coppock grounded to second to end the inning.
Lessenberry took over pitching duties for Bryant in the top of the fifth. After having 15 consecutive batters retired, George County finally got another runner on base on a grounder to first that was misplayed by Coppock. The next two batters grounded to third and stuck out before a squibber up the third base line came to rest on the chalk for an infield hit. But the threat ended when Lessenbery got a grounder to Greiner at short for the easy force at second.
Bryant increased the lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Dupree led off by grounding a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch as Mullings walked. Webb attempted to move the runners up with a sac bunt but the pitcher fired to third to force Dupree. After both runners moved up on a balk, Greiner rolled an 0-2 pitch to second to score Mullings and move Webb to third. McEntire lined a single to left to bring in Webb and then Jackson popped to third to retire the side.
In George County’s final at-bat, Lessenberry got the first two out on grounders to third and short before allowing an infield single on a pop that landed near the second base bag between Greiner and Catton. Two pitches later, a ground ball to second ended the game with Bryant an 8-1 winner.
Bryant 10, Oak Grove 0
Jackson was the starting pitcher for Bryant and allowed a leadoff single to right that fell between Catton and Bariola. The runner moved to second on a stolen base as the next hitter fanned. After swiping third, the runner attempted to score on a ball in the dirt but was caught in a rundown and tagged out at the plate. After a walk, Jackson got a grounder to third to end the inning.
In Bryant’s first at-bat, Catton struck out, Bariola grounded to third and, after Coppock walked, McEntire lined to the shortstop.
Oak Grove’s first batter in the second popped to short before the next batter singled to the fence in left-center. Jackson whiffed the next batter and then the inning ended when Lessenberry gunned down the runner attempting to steal second.
In Bryant’s half, Dupree walked, Mullings moved him to second with a grounder to third. Greiner’s pop single to right put runners on the corners. Shepard struck out but the catcher dropped the ball and had to throw to first to complete the play as Greiner moved to second and Dupree remained at third. Jackson walked to load the bases but Oak Grove escaped when Lessenberry lined to short.
In the top of the third, Jackson got the first batter on a grounder to first before giving up an infield single on a softly hit ball that died in the wet grass. A single to center put two on but then Jackson picked the runner off first for the second out and, on the very next pitch, Lessenberry picked off the runner at second to end the inning.
Bryant broke through with three runs in the bottom half. Catton led off with a single to center. Bariola beat out a bunt to put two on. Coppock popped out to the shortstop who made a fine diving play for the first out. McEntire followed with a single to left that scored Catton and moved Bariola to second. Dupree also singled to left to bring in Bariola with McEntire going to second. Mullings walked to load the bases before Greiner grounded back to the mound to force McEntire at the plate. Shepard singled to the first baseman to score Dupree before Day, hitting for Jackson, grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
Jackson retired Oak Grove in order in the fourth on a strikeout, ground ball to third and a pop to first. Bryant doubled its lead in the bottom of the frame. Lessenberry led off with a walk and was balked to second. He moved to third on a wild pitch as Catton drew a walk. With Bariola at the plate, another balk brought Lessenberry home and moved Catton to second. Bariola walked to put two runners on and Coppock’s sac bunt moved them both into scoring position. McEntire singled to left to score Catton and move Bariola to third. Dupree was out on a grounder in front of the plate but Bariola came in to score on the catcher’s throw to first. Mullings ended the inning with a hard shot that bounced and hit the shortstop in the chest but landed at his feet, allowing him to retire Mullings at first.
Greiner took over as the Bryant pitcher in the fifth. After getting a ground out to first, he allowed a single to center but then retired the next two on a grounder to second and a strikeout.
Bryant plated four runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game. Greiner led off with a single to left. Shepard reached on a throwing error by the first baseman. Greiner came all the way around to score and Shepard slid into third on the play. Webb hit for Jackson and grounded to the shortstop whose throw home was too late to get Shepard. The ball got away from the catcher allowing Webb to take second on the play.
Lessenberry followed with a walk before Catton’s grounder to the shortstop forced Webb at third. Bariola then walked to load the bases for Coppock, who singled to left to bring in Lessenberry. With the infield playing in, McEntire hit a grounder to the second baseman who fumbled the ball allowing Catton to beat his throw to the plate.