CORDOVA, Tenn. — They played to win and, though the odds were against them and[more] they couldn’t pull it off, the Bryant 12-year-old All-Stars competed and gained from the experience, playing some of the best teams in the country.
Oh, and they were on national television.
The event was the National Youth Baseball Championship tournament, which annually brings together the World Series champions of all the youth baseball organizations in the country other than Little League. None of the Cal Ripken Baseball teams from the World Series were able to attend so the tournament organizers were looking for a team to represent Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth.
Bryant manager Darren Hurt got a call on the Wednesday before the tournament began on Friday, Aug. 26. He called around and got his team together and though they hadn’t practiced in nearly a month after finishing as the runner-up in the Cal Ripken Southwest Regional, they accepted the invitation.
In pool play, the team lost its opener, 4-1, to a team from Miami, Fla. On Friday afternoon, they suffered a 13-0 loss to a team from San Diego, Calif. In the finale on Saturday, the Bryant team faced Lynn Haven, Fla., the representative from the USSSA. The game was televised live on the MLB Network. Though it was close early, the Florida team kept adding on and eventually won 11-2.
Members of the Bryant 12’s include Logan Allen, Beaux Bonvillian, Drew Brown, Cameron Coleman, Jake East, Jeffery Hastings, Dylan Hurt, D.J. McKinney, Austin Kelly, Hayden Knowles, Preston Kyzer, Garrett Misenheimer, Aaron Orender, Matthew Sandidge and Scott Schmidt. Manager Darren Hurt is assisted by Rick Brown and Randy Kelly.
Bryant was limited to five hits, one each by Misenheimer, Knowles, Brown, Kelly and Hastings.
Lynn Haven scored a run in the second, two in the third and one in the fourth to build a 4-0 lead. After doubling that in the fifth, the Florida team capped off the win in the sixth with three to make it 11-0.
Bryant broke through with two runs in the bottom of the sixth when Sandidge and Knowles drew walks and Brown cracked his single to drive in a run. Kelly’s base hit drove home the second run.
But Knowles was thrown out trying to come home on a pitch in the dirt and, after Hastings was hit by a pitch, Schmidt grounded into a force at second to end the game.
To watch the game, go here.