LAMESA, Texas — The Bryant 12-and-under Major 60 All-Stars, after finishing fourth in the State Tournament, received[more] an invitation to the Cal Ripken Southwest Regional Tournament and promptly won three of their four pool play games, tying for the best record in their pool. But due to the run differential tiebreaker, the Stars were seeded third for bracket play and ran into a Crossett team they had tangled with in State in the first round. Bryant was edged in a heartbreaker, 9-8, to end their stay.
Crossett, by the way, went on to finished as the tournament runner-up, losing 8-6 in the championship game to El Dorado.
In pool play starting Friday, July 20, Bryant edged the Northeast Arkansas All-Stars (based in Pocahontas), 8-7, and buried the West Texas team from Muleshoe, 17-7. On Saturday, the suffered their lone defeat, 6-2, to a West Texas team from Littlefield. But they bounced back to pin a 5-4 loss on Monticello.
The Bryant 12’s Major 60 team included Myers Buck, Konnor Clontz, Caleb Dorsey, Joe Green, Boston Heil, Sawyer Holt, Zak Kemp, Chandler Taylor, Ethan Thompson, Hunter Ulmer, Zach Wells. The team was managed by Keith Thompson with assistance from Jason Holt and Dalton Holt.
Bryant 8, NEA 7
Bryant jumped out to a 4-0 lead then NEA, the previously unbeaten north Arkansas champions, rallied to take a 7-5 egde into the final inning. But Thompson blasted a three-run homer as Bryant regained the advantage. Heil, the fourth Bryant pitcher, then held NEA in the bottom of the sixth to nail down the victory.
The winning rally began with Dorsey reached second on a throwing error. Dorsey stole third then Kemp drew a walk before Thompson blasted an 0-1 pitch over the boards in left-center.
Bryant’s initial burst produced a run in the top of the first. Buck reached on an error then was forced at second on a grounder to third by Dorsey. Kemp followed with a double to the fence in center to chase home the run.
Dorsey, the Bryant starter, pitched around a hit batsman and a one-out single in the bottom of the inning and, in the second, Heil started a three-run uprising with a base hit. Ulmer walked and Holt reached on an error. Wells got a bunt down that not only scored a run but went for a hit. With two out, Dorsey and Kemp drew walks and the lead was 4-0.
NEA whittled on the margin with two runs in the third. In the fourth, walks to Kemp and Thompson and a single by Heil made it 5-2.
That’s when NEA stormed into the lead. Two runs in the fourth were followed by three in the fifth, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.
Bryant 17, Muleshoe, Texas 7
Bryant trailed 7-2 going into the bottom of the third then rallied for two in the third, four in the fourth and, with nine in the fifth, made it a run-rule win.
Green had four hits, Wells three and, Kemp, Buck, Dorsey, Thompson, Heil and Holt each had two for Bryant.
Muleshoe took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first and Bryant tied it in the bottom of the inning. Green Buck and Kemp had hits to produced Bryant’s two.
But the Texas team scored three in the second and two in the top of the third to establish its five-run lead. Bryant’s comeback commenced when Green led off the home third with a single. He stole his way to third then scored on a two-out single by Kemp. Thompson drew a walk and Heil singled to load the bases for Ulmer who drew an RBI walk to cut the lead to 7-4.
The go-ahead uprising in the fourth began with a single by Wells, who stole second and scored on a double by Green. With one out, Dorsey, Clontz and Thompson smacked singles to make it 8-7.
Heil came on to relieve for Bryant and shut out Muleshoe over the last two innings, working past walks in each inning.
Holt beat out an infield hit to start the big fifth. Wells beat out a bunt and Green singled to center. Buck and Dorsey followed with hits and, after Clontz walked, Thompson belted a double. Heil singled in a run and, after Ulmer walks, Holt and Wells each came through with their second hits of the inning with Wells driving in the run that ended the game in accordance with the 10-run mercy rule.
Littlefield, Texas 6, Bryant 2
Littlefield scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the first and the game stayed 2-0 until the bottom of the fourth. The Texas team added a run then scored three more in the fifth.
Bryant broke up the shutout in the sixth. Wells reached on an error and Green drew a walk ahead of a double by Buck. With one out, Thompson singled in the second run and, with two down, Clontz walked to load the bases. With the potential tying run at the plate, Littlefield got the final out to escape with the victory.
Bryant was limited to one hit over the first five frames. Holt had singled to start the third.
The teams had to contend with high winds, a dust storm then rain.
Bryant 5, Monticello 4
To complete pool play, Bryant put together another come-from-behind victory. With two runs in the second and two more in the third, Monticello held a 4-0 lead that stood until the bottom of the fifth.
With Heil again providing shutout relief over the final three innings, Bryant tied the game in the fifth and won it in the sixth on a two-out walk-off RBI single by Thompson.
Taylor had singled to start the sixth. He was sacrificed to second by Wells. After Green reached on an error, Dorsey drew a two-out walk to keep the inning alive for Thompson, whose drive to the fence in center won it.
The fourth-inning rally began with a walk to Clontz. Wells reached on an error, as did Green. A walk to Buck forced in a run and, with one out, Thompson singled in another. With two down and two strikes, Ulmer came through with a shot down the right-field line for a two-run double that tied the game.
Crossett 9, Bryant 8
In Sunday’s bracket play game, it was Bryant which suffered the walk-off loss. After trailing most of the game, Bryant had erased a 7-5 deficit with three runs in the top of the sixth. But Crossett tied it and won it in the bottom of the inning on an error sandwiched by a pair of singles.
The nip-and-tuck battle began with Crossett grabbing a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. But Bryant pushed in three in the top of the second to take a short-lived lead. Heil drew a lead-off walk but had only advanced to second when Taylor came up with two down and walked on a 3-2 pitch. Wells and Green followed with back-to-back doubles.
Crossett countered with four in the bottom of the second then neither team scored in the third or fourth innings with Buck silencing the Crossett bats.
Bryant cut the lead to 6-5 in the top of the fifth when Thompson beat out an infield hit with one out and, with two down, Ulmer smacked a single to left. Hot reached on an error and Clontz cracked a two-run double.
Crossett used small ball to get one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth. The first bunt went for a hit, the second drew a wild throw that allowed the first batter to race all the way home from first.
But back came Bryant in the top of the sixth to claim an 8-7 lead. Walks to Dorsey and Thompson started the inning then Heil blasted a triple to the fence in right-center. Ulmer singled him in to put the Stars ahead, but all too briefly.