By Madison McEntire
Photos by Crissy and Madison McEntire
SPRINGDALE — It’s hard to beat a good team three straight times, but the Bryant 50/70[more] 12-year-old All-Star team did just that with a 9-2 victory over Little Rock Junior Deputy in their second game of the Cal Ripken Regional tournament played at the Randal Tyson complex on Sunday, July 21.
Bryant had previously beaten Little Rock twice in the State tournament played in Bryant a week ago.
Bryant was led by the hitting of Cade Dupree who had three hits, including a double and a homer, and the pitching of Logan Chambers who allowed no runs though the first five innings while Bryant was building a 9-0 lead. The start of the game was delayed by over three hours due to rain.
Team members are Logan Chambers, Logan Grant, Logan Catton, Jacob Coppock, Cade Dupree, Hunter Mullings, Jacob Shepard, Ryan Lessenberry, Will McEntire, Coby Greiner, Zach Wells, and Sawyer Holt. They are managed by Michael Catton with help from assistant coaches Phillip Dupree, Mark Coppock and Madison McEntire.
Bryant batted first and jumped to a quick lead. After Chambers struck out swinging, Dupree doubled to the fence in right-center. Grant struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt and was thrown out at first as Dupree took third on the play. On a 1-2 pitch, Coppock beat out a soft grounder to the left of the mound with Dupree coming home on the throw to first.
A wild pitch moved Coppock to second and then Mullings smacked a grounder back up the middle to bring in the second run. After Mullings stole second, Catton was hit by a pitch but Greiner lined to the second baseman to end the inning.
Chambers took the hill for Bryant and his second pitch was smacked right at Greiner at third who made a nice backhand stop for a quick first out. After Chambers got a pop up to Dupree at first for another out, Little Rock’s three-hole hitter singled to the fence in left-center. The cleanup hitter then bounced a hard single up the middle and Coppock just missed forcing out the lead runner at second, but Little Rock had two on.
Chambers got the next batter to hit a ball that went just over the corner of the third base bag where Greiner snagged it and stepped on the bag to end the threat.
In the second, Bryant went 1-2-3 as Shepard popped to first, Lessenberry struck out and Chambers grounded out to third. Little Rock also went in order in the bottom half. Chambers got the first batter on a ground ball to second. On a 3-2 pitch, Greiner made a nice play behind the bag and fired to first for the out but the ball was ruled foul and the batter stepped back in flied out to left on Chambers’ next pitch. A grounder to Dupree at first sent the game to the third with Bryant up 2-0.
Dupree led off the third with a liner to center for a single. After Grant’s sac bunt moved him to second, he went to third on a wild pitch. After fouling off two pitches, Coppock bounced a 1-2 pitch to the right side of the mound. Little Rock’s pitcher thought about trying to get Dupree at the plate but slipped in the wet grass and had to throw to first to get Coppock instead. Mullings grounded out to the third baseman on a close play to end the inning. Bryant now led 3-0.
Little Rock’s nine-hole hitter led off the bottom of the third with a single when Catton made a great diving stop on his grounder to the right side but was unable to recover in time to throw him out. A sac bunt back to Chambers moved him to second and then a groundout to second moved him to third. But he was stranded there when Chambers got a grounder to Grant for the third out.
Catton led off the fourth for Bryant and appeared to have a hit but the Little Rock centerfielder made a nice sliding catch on his pop fly for the first out. After Greiner bounced a single into left, Shepard popped to short for the second out. Lessenberry struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt and nearly legged it out at first when the catcher lobbed the ball, but it just nipped him to end the inning.
The first Little Rock hitter in the bottom of the fourth smashed a hard liner to left but it was right at Mullings for an out. After Greiner made a nice play on a soft chopper to third for out number two, Chambers walked his first batter of the game although two of the pitches that were called balls were extremely close to being the third strike. A single to center put two on but Chambers got a pop up back to the mound to end the inning.
Bryant added two runs in the fifth. After Chambers struck out and Dupree grounded out to third, Grant blasted a ball to left that hopped over the fence for a rule-book double. After he moved to third on a wild pitch, Little Rock’s second baseman could not handle Coppock’s hard smash to second, allowing Grant to score and Coppock to reach first. With Mullings batting, Coppock stole second and then went to third on a wild pitch and was able to get up and streak home when the catcher’s throw went into left field. Mullings ended the inning with a ground ball to the shortstop but Bryant’s lead was up to 5-0.
Chambers just needed nine pitches to get through the bottom of the fifth. Little Rock’s eight-hole hitter chopped a ball off the plate back to the mound for the first out. The next pitch was a fly to Shepard in right and then Greiner caught a foul pop near the line at third to end the inning.
In their last at-bat, Bryant added what turned out to be four big insurance runs. Little Rock brought in a new pitcher. Catton led off and grounded out to third. Greiner walked on four pitches and then Shepard walked on a full count pitch. McEntire hit for Lessenberry and was plunked on the leg on the second pitch to load the bases. Lessenberry re-entered to run for McEntire.
After fouling off two pitches with a 3-2 count on him, Chambers hit a grounder to short to force Lessenberry at second but Greiner scored and Shepard moved to third. Dupree stepped in and, after Chambers stole second, drilled the second pitch over the wall in left for a three-run homer to make it 9-0. Grant lined hard to second to end the inning.
Little Rock’s lead-off hitter stepped in to start the bottom of the sixth and quickly lined Chambers’ second pitch over the wall in left for the team’s first run of the game. The next batter flied out to Coppock in deep center.
Little Rock’s three-hole hitter singled to the gap in right-center and the the cleanup hitter bounced a single to left. The ball got by Mullings allowing the runners to move up to third and second. The next batter also grounded a ball to left, with a run scoring on the play and the runner on second moving to third while the batter went to second on Mullings’ throw. Chambers then walked his second batter to load the bases.
Lefty Zach Wells replaced Chambers on the mound and needed just five pitches to get out of the jam. He got a pop to short on which the umpire invoked the infield fly rule and then got a line drive to Greiner at second to end the game.
Bryant next takes on Mountain Home in the finals of the winner’s bracket on Monday, July 22, at 3 p.m.