After losing twice to the White Hall All-Stars in district tournament play, the Bryant 12U All-Stars earned a sweet victory, 5-1, over their nemesis on Sunday to advance to the championship round of the 2016 Little League State Tournament at Bishop Park.
Bryant edged Bismarck, 5-4, in a game that started Friday but was suspended due to storms then completed on Saturday evening.
Now the team awaits the winner of the losers bracket contest between Bismarck and White Hall. Those two play on Monday to see who challenges Bryant for the State tourney crown and a trip to Regionals in Waco, Texas, Aug. 3-10, with a trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., on the line.
In Tuesday’s final round, Bryant will have two chances to win one game and take the title. The first game begins at 6 p.m.
The Bryant team, coached by Jason Greiner, includes Braedon Boyce, Gage Buford, Gavin Burton, Caleb Greiner, Drew Hatman, Connor Martin, Colby Morrow, Calvin Myles, Kyler Pabon, J.T. Parker Cade Parker, Turner Seelinger and Hayden Thompson.
Bryant 5, White Hall 1
Seelinger limited White Hall to one run on six hits in the six-inning contest. He walked just one and fanned nine.
J.T. Parker led the offense with a pair of hits including a triple. Burton drove in a pair of runs.
Bryant grabbed a 3-0 lead in the top of the second. A base hit by Morrow set things in motion. Thompson, in as a pinch runner, reached second on a wild pitch and third on a single by Seelinger. Greiner’s sacrifice bunt got Seelinger to second as Thompson held at third.
And it looked like Bryant might not get anything when J.T. Parker’s tap back to the mound resulted in a force at the plate. But, on a 3-2 pitch, Myles took one for the team, forcing in the first tally.
Burton followed up with a two-run single to center.
White Hall’s lone run came in the bottom of the inning on a single, a wild pitch, a groundout and a sacrifice fly.
The two teams battled at 3-1 until the sixth. Bryant to a runner to second in the third but he was stranded. In the bottom of the inning, a pair of errors put White Hall in position to score but Seelinger fanned two and escaped.
Each team had a single to no result in the fourth. Hits by Pabon, Boyce and Buford loaded the bases but Bryant was unable to push anyone home.
White Hall managed a pair of hits in the bottom of the fifth but they were left aboard.
Bryant’s sixth began with J.T. Parker’s triple. Hatman singled him in then Burton walked and, with two down, Martin delivered the crowning blow, legging out an infield hit as Hatman scored.
White Hall made a bid to rally in the sixth with a pair of singles and a passed ball putting runners at second and third with no one out. But Seelinger reset the inning with a strikeout. Cade Parker snagged a liner to third for the second out then Hatman hauled in a fly to right to end the game.
Bryant 5, Bismarck 4
Thompson lined a home run to right with one out in the top of the sixth to snap a 4-4 tie and J.T. Parker retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning as Bryant forged the first victory.
Benson and Thompson each had two hits while five different pitchers combined to turn back Bismarck. J.T. Parker threw two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win after Bismarck had tied it in the fifth and had runners at second and third.
Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the first on Friday when Myles was hit with a pitch, took second on a passed ball, third on Burton’s grounder to second then scored on Pabon’s bouncer to second.
On Saturday, Bryant added a run in the top of the third. With one out, Burton singled to center. After a pitching change, a wild pitch sent him to third and Pabon’s infield hit got him to third. Martin grounded into a force at second as Burton scored.
Bismarck rallied to tie it in the third and it stayed deadlocked until Bryant’s fifth. Burton doubled, took third on a passed ball and scored on an error at Pabon reached.
An errant throw allowed Pabon to take third. He scored on an errant pickoff throw to make it 4-2.
The Bismarck comeback in the fifth produced the tie that Thompson erased with his blast in the top of the sixth.