By Madison McEntire
Photos courtesy of Diane Dupree
SPRINGDALE — Bryant’s 50/70 12-year-old All-Stars jumped to a quick 4-1 lead over Mountain Home[more] before losing 10-5 in the finals of the winner’s bracket of the Cal Ripken Regional tournament played at the Randal Tyson complex on Monday, July 22. Bryant rebounded later that night with a 13-2 drubbing of Springdale to advance to the finals where they will have to beat Mountain Home twice beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23.
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.
Mountain Home 10, Bryant 5
Bryant began the game with two quick runs. Chambers led off and grounded back to the pitcher but the throw was wide and pulled the first baseman off the bag. Dupree followed with a walk.
With a 2-1 count, Grant took a pitch low and began trotting to first thinking it was ball four. The runners also moved up a base and Mountain Home was confused on the count as well and tossed the ball back to the pitcher. The home plate umpire waved Grant back to first to finish his at-bat but the runners stayed put despite the protests of the Mountain Home manager. On the next pitch, Grant reached on a fielder’s choice when his sac bunt was fielded by the pitcher who tried unsucessfully to get Chambers at the plate. Dupree went to third and Grant moved up to second on the play.
Despite it being just the first inning, Mountain Home walked Coppock to load the bases. Mullings struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the first out before Catton walked to make the score 2-0. Mountain Home changed pitchers and, with a 2-2 count, Greiner missed a suicide squeeze attempt and Grant was tagged out coming from third to end the inning.
Coppock was the starting pitcher for Bryant. In the bottom of the first, Mountain Home’s leadoff batter reached second on a grounder to Chambers at short. But he could not get the ball out of his glove cleanly and then threw wildly to first. After the runner moved up a base on a wild pitch, the next batter lined a single to right to bring him in and then went to second when the ball got by Shepard.
Coppock got a pop up to Chambers behind the second base bag for the first out and then a grounder to third moved the runner to third before a swinging strikeout ended the inning.
Bryant scratched out two more runs in the second after there were two out. Shepard fouled out to the third baseman who made a nice catch by the dugout fence and then Lessenberry grounded to third. Chambers lined a single to left and then went to second on a wild pitch that nearly rolled into the Bryant dugout. Dupree lined a single to left to score Chambers and then took second when the ball got by the left fielder.
Grant belted the next pitch into the gap in right-center to plate Dupree and took second on the throw home. With a runner on second and two out, Coppock was again intentionally walked before Mullings struck to end the inning. Bryant’s lead was 4-1.
Coppock quickly set Mountain Home down in the bottom of the second with a comebacker to the mound, a swinging strikeout on a pitch in the dirt on which Lessenberry fired to first for the out, and a grounder to Dupree at first.
Catton led off the Bryant third and reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, went to second on a wild pitch and was then sacrificed to the third by Greiner. But he was left stranded when Shepard took a curve for strike three and Lessenberry lined a 3-2 pitch right at the second baseman.
Mountain Home batted around and took the lead in the bottom of the third. Their nine-hole hitter singled to the fence in left and stole second while their leadoff batter walked. After a balk moved them up, a single to the fence in center brought the lead runner home and put runners on the corners. A grounder in the hole to left brought in another run and kept runners on first and third.
Coppock got soft pop to Greiner at second for the first out. The next batter grounded back to the left of the mound where Coppock fumbled the ball while checking on the runner coming from third. His throw to first was late and a run scored on the play. Mountain Home had tied the game 4-4 and had runners on first and second. A soft grounder back to the mound was the second out as the runners advanced on the play. The next batter bounced a single to left to give Mountain Home a 5-4 lead before Coppock recorded a swinging strikeout to end the inning.
Bryant went in order in the fourth as Cambers hit a line drive to second and Dupree and Grant each flied out to right. Mountain Home added to the lead in their fourth inning at-bat. After Coppock got the first two batters on grounders to Grant and Dupree, he issued his second walk of the game. After the runner stole second and went to third on a wild pitch, he came in to score on a fly ball
to the fence in center. A line drive to Catton in center ended the inning but Bryant now trailed 6-4.
Coppock led off the Bryant fifth and walked on four pitches. He stole second and went to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Mullings’ ground ball to the shortstop. Catton struck out swinging and Greiner popped to second to send the game to the bottom of the fifth.
Greiner took over for Coppock on the mound for the bottom of the fifth. He stuck out the Mountain Home five-hole hitter on an 0-2 pitch in the dirt but the batter beat Lessenberry’s throw to first. He stole second and third and then scored on a fielder’s choice when Dupree threw to the plate on a grounder to first.
A line drive single to right put two on and, after a throwing error on a pickoff attempt moved the runners up, Bryant intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases. But Greiner picked the runner of third base and he was tagged out in a rundown.
Another intentional walk reloaded the bases. With the infield playing in, Chambers snagged a ball up the middle but was forced to go to first for the out as the runner on third scored and the trail runners moved up. Mountain Home’s two-hole hitter then slapped a single in the hole to left to make the score 9-5 and put runners on the corners. The next batter slammed a liner to left center to single in another run with the runners moving to third and second on the throw to the plate.
Greiner retired the next batter on a ground ball to Grant at third but Mountain home had taken control with a 10-5 lead.
Bryant went quickly in its final at-bat. McEntire hit for Shepard and bounced out to second. Lessenberry grounded to third base and then Chambers fouled out to the third baseman to end the game.
Bryant 13, Springdale 2
Bryant returned at 8 p.m. to take on Springdale who had just defeated Little Rock 13-4. In the top of the first, Chambers was thrown out by the pitcher when he tried to bunt his way on base. Dupree slapped the next pitch into center for a single and then went to second on a wild pitch. Grant singled to right to put two on. After walking three times in the previous game, Coppock finally got to hit and ripped a double to the fence in right-center to score Dupree and put Grant on third.
Mullings’ grounder to second scored Grant and
Coppock came in to score from third when Catton hit a seeing-eye single into left field. Catton moved into scoring position on a passed ball before Greiner fouled out to the first baseman.
After pitching the last inning of the Mountain Home game, Greiner was back on the mound for Bryant. He breezed through the first inning. Dupree made a nice play at first on a tough hop for the first out and then Grant threw out the second batter on a grounder to third. Chambers scooted to his left and made a nice play on a ball up the middle to end the first inning with Bryant up 3-0.
Bryant expanded the lead to 8-0 in the second. Holt struck out swinging on a pitch in the first and was thrown out at first. Lessenberry walked and went to second on a balk and to third on a wild pitch while Chambers walked. On a hit-and-run, Dupree grounded a single into left to score Lessenberry and move Chambers to second. Grant flied to center for the first out before Coppock walked to load the bases.
Mullings ripped a line drive over the third baseman’s head that went off his glove. Chambers and Dupree scored, with Coppock moving to third and Mullings taking second on the throw in from the outfield. Catton stepped in and doubled on a fly to the fence in right-center to bring in Coppock and Mullings.
Springdale changed pitchers and the new hurler finally ended the inning by getting Greiner on a bouncer to second.
Springdale plated their first run in the bottom of the second. Greiner walked the first batter on four pitches. The next batter lined a hard shot up the middle where Coppock scooped it up and forced the runner at second base. A wild pitch moved the runner up to second and a ground ball to Chambers moved him to third. After a walk and a stolen base, Springdale had two runners in scoring position before a soft grounder to short brought in a run.
After a wild pitch moved the runner from first up, Greiner hit the nine-hole hitter to load the bases but got out of trouble when he picked the runner off second base to end the inning.
In the third, Bryant pushed the lead back to an eight. Holt was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He took off for second on a ball in the dirt and was safe when the shortstop missed the tag. Lessenberry’s sac bunt moved him to third and he scored on Chambers’ groundout to second. The Springdale
second baseman couldn’t handle Dupree’s hot smash and Dupree advanced all the way to second but was left there when Grant lined back to the pitcher.
Springdale’s first batter in the third reached when Catton couldn’t handle his smash at second. The next batter grounded to Grant who forced the runner at second for the first out. Coppock made a great sliding catch in center for the second out and then Greiner froze Springdale’s cleanup hitter with a pretty changeup on a 3-2 count for a called strikeout to end the inning.
Grant led off the fourth with a single to left. After he stole second, Mullings lofted a pop behind second base that should have been caught but dropped between three Springdale players as Grant moved up to third. Catton dropped down a sac bunt to score Grant and advance Mullings to second. Greiner grounded a ball up the middle that the shortstop booted to put runners on the corners. Holt popped out foul to the first baseman and then Lessenberry bounced to short for the third out.
Springdale scored its final run in the bottom of the fourth. The first batter bounced a ball up the middle where Chambers made a diving stop but was unable to make the throw to first from his knees. A wild pitch moved the runner up but Greiner struck out the next two batters. After a single to left brought the runner home from third, Greiner recorded his third strikeout of the game, and fourth of the game, to end the inning.
Bryant upped the lead to 13-2 with three runs in the top of the fifth. After Chambers bounced back to the mound, Dupree lined a hard single to right. Grant chopped a ball that bounded over the third baseman’s head and then Coppock lined a single to left to load the bases. Mullings cracked a hard shot to dead center and just missed a grand slam when the ball went off the fence. Dupree scored on the play and when the centerfielder’s throw rolled across the diamond to the fence in front of the Bryant dugout, Grant also scored, Coppock moved to third and Mullings went to second. Catton’s bouncer to third plated Coppock and then Greiner grounded out to second to end the inning.
Bryant got sloppy in the bottom of the fifth but Springdale failed to capitalize. After Greiner got the first batter on a pop to second, Catton made an error at second and then Shepard, who had entered in right for Holt, misjudged a fly and could not make the catch. After a wild pitch moved the runners up, Greiner struck out Springdale’s cleanup hitter on a ball in the dirt but he reached first
safely to load the bases. Just two pitches later, however, Bryant was a 13-2 winner when Greiner got a shallow fly to Mullings in left field and a grounder to Dupree at first.