Bryant 13’s a win away for State championship

EL DORADO — The Bryant All-Stars will play for the Babe Ruth League 13-year-old South Arkansas State[more] championship on Tuesday at 6 p.m., after a 24-3 thumping of the Union County All-Stars of El Dorado Monday night.

The teams met in the winners bracket final and, what figured to be a showdown between the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the 16-team tournament, Bryant scored early and often to make it a laugher.

On Tuesday, Bryant will await the survivor of the losers bracket final between Union County and a team that was to be determined Monday night. The challenger would have to knock Bryant off to force a winner-take-all contest on Wednesday. With a win on Tuesday, Bryant captures the title, advancing to the Southwest Regional in Bay City, Texas, starting July 27.

The Bryant 13s are managed by Jerry East with assistance from Rick Brown and Randy Kelly. The team includes Logan Allen, Drew Brown, Cameron Coleman, Jake East, Jeffery Hastings, Dylan Hurt, Austin Kelly, Hayden Knowles, Garrett Misenheimer, Aaron Orender, Kyle Sahr, Shurtleff, Diego Vargas.

East paced the offensive explosion, going 4 for 5 with a walk. Hurt, Shurtleff and Misenheimer each had three hits, Kelly, Hastings and Allen two apiece.

The onslaught commenced right away as the first seven Bryant batters reached base. East singled and stole second. Hurt walked and the duo pulled a double steal then raced home on Shurtleff’s double.

Walks to Misenheimer and Kelly loaded the bases for Hastings, who singled in a run. Orender’s two-run single followed. Allen lined into a doubleplay but Coleman walked and stole second, East singled and stole second then Hurt doubled in both to make it 8-0.

Union County took advantage of a couple of early walks surrendered by Hurt. A single and an error produced a run before Hurt worked out of the inning.

To top themselves, the Bryant Stars scored 10 times in the top of the second to blow the game up. Misenheimer doubled and Kelly ripped a triple to left-center. Hastings drew a walk then worked a double steal with Kelly to make it 10-1. A walk to Orender set up an RBI opportunity for Coleman who singled in a run.

Base hits by East and Hurt kept the inning going. Shurtleff was hit by a pitch then Misenheimer smacked his second hit of the inning to drive in a run. Kelly followed up his triple with a two-run double and Hastings knocked in a run with a single. After Orender walked, Allen drove home Hastings with a single to make it 18-1.

Hurt struck out two in easing through the bottom of the second then Union County kept the Stars from adding to their lead in the third. Kelly took over on the mound and struggled a bit initially, surrendering four walks and a pair of hits, which resulted in a pair of runs scoring. But he got a strikeout to end the frame with the bases loaded.

He would work around a pair of two-out hits in the fourth then retire the side in order in the fifth to close out the win.

Three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth completed the romp. In the fourth, Brown walked and Allen was hit by a pitch. With one out, East singled in a run. Hurt walked on four pitches and Shurtleff cracked a two-run single to make it 21-3.

The top of the fifth commenced with Vargas getting plunked. Brown singled but was forced at second on a grounder to short by Allen. With runners at the corners, Sahr walked to load the bases. East drew a free pass to force in a run then Hurt capped it all off with a two-run single.

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