NORTH LITTLE ROCK — In preparation for their State Tournament which commences today at Junior Deputy Park in Little Rock, the[more] Bryant 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars won a tournament at Lakewood and finished second in another at Cabot over the last two weekends.
At Cabot, the team whipped Searcy 18-1 then dismissed Batesville, 12-4. A 7-2 win over Searcy and a 16-4 romp over Star City put Bryant into the finals against the host team where the Stars were edged out 4-2 for the tourney title.
But, to start the tournament at Lakewood, Bryant clubbed Cabot, 12-2. A pair of wins over Hot Springs, 5-4 and 13-3, put the Stars in the championship game where they claimed the crown over England, 7-2.
The 13-year-old All-Stars are Connor Alliston, Luke Brantley, Chase Brooks, Daniel Darbonne, Noah Easterling, Zach Jackson, Nick Kehrees, Mike Martindale, Caleb McElyea, Liam Miller, Connor Tatum and Hunter Winkles. The team is managed by Mark Kehrees with assistance from Tom Kehrees and Johnny Alliston.
Bryant 7, England 2
On Sunday, July 3, Bryant got stellar pitching from Alliston and Brantley to win the title. Alliston pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run and just one hit. He walked four and fanned four. Brantley came on after the fourth walk and retired the side in the fifth. England managed a run on two hits in the sixth but, by then, Bryant had put the game away.
Tatum had three hits, Miller and Winkles two each to spark the offense. Bryant scored twice in the first when Tatum singled, Miller and Jackson drew walks and Kehrees smacked a two-run single.
It stayed 2-1 until the fifth when Bryant added some insurance. Tatum beat out a bunt for a hit with one out and stole second. Brantley reached on an error then Miller cracked a single. Jackson delivered a run with a sacrifice fly and it was 5-1.
Singles by McElyea, Winkles, Alliston and Tatum produced the last two runs in the sixth.
Bryant 13, Hot Springs 5
A six-run fourth blew up a tie game and, behind the pitching of Jackson, Bryant rolled to victory in the semifinals at Lakewood.
Martindale cracked three hits and Kehrees two in the contest.
Both teams scored twice in the first. For Bryant, Brantley singled and stole second with one down. Jackson was hit by a pitch and Kehrees delivered an RBI single. With two down, Martindale came through with a run-scoring single.
It stayed 2-2 until the fourth when Bryant’s big inning commenced with a base hit by Martindale. He swiped second and Brooks walked. With two out, Tatum reached on an error as a run scored. He swiped second then Brantley’s ball was booted at short, as was Jackson’s. Singles by Kehrees and McElyea preceded an inning-capping double by Martindale.
The Stars would tack on a run in the fifth and four in the sixth. Alliston walked, Darbonne sacrificed him to second and Tatum doubled him home in the fifth. The sixth began with a walk to Jackson. Kehrees sacrificed him to second and when a pitch got past the catcher as Jackson was stealing third, he was able to score.
McElyea got things going again with a walk and a stolen base. Martindale fanned but reached on a wild pitch on the third strike. Walks to Brooks, Alliston, Darbonne and Tatum ended the game as Bryant built a run-rule lead.
Jackson allowed five hits. Only two of the five Hot Springs runs were earned. He walked just one and struck out two.
Bryant 5, Hot Springs 4
After two innings, the Stars had a 5-3 lead and stellar relief pitching from Brantley made those five runs hold up. After pitching out of a jam in the third when Hot Springs scored its fourth run, Brantley pitched shutout ball over the final three frames, giving up just two hits.
Both teams scored three runs in the first. Bryant’s tying uprising in the bottom of the inning, began with Tatum reaching second on a throwing error then stealing third. Brantley singled him in and swiped second. With two down, Kehrees singled and Jackson belted a double to make it 2-2. Winkles walked to load the bases but the inning ended without further damage.
After Kehrees, the starter on the mound, worked a scoreless second, Bryant took the lead. The first two had been retired when Brantley was hit by a pitch. He stole second then Miller walked. Martindale reached on an error then walks to Kehrees and Jackson made it 5-3.
A walk and a pair of errors produced a run in return for Hot Springs in the top of the third but Brantley came on and induced a comebacker that turned into a doubleplay.
He worked around a single in the fourth, a hit and an error in the fifth then retired the side in order in the top of the sixth.
Bryant 12, Cabot 2
In the payback game, Easterling and Alliston put the shackles on the Cabot bats. Easterling allowed one run on one hit before running into some control issued in the third when he walked three and, with the help of an error, Cabot got its second run. Alliston finished, allowing just one baserunner (on a single with one out in the fourth) the rest of the way.
Bryant scored three times in the first, the second, the fourth and the fifth. The opening salvo began with a one-out single by Brantley. He stole second and Miller singled him in. Miller swiped second and took third on a passed ball before scoring when Kehrees reached on an error. Jackson singled in Kehrees, who had also swiped second.
In the second, Brooks reached on an error, stole second and third then scored on a hit by Tatum. He too stole his way to third then scored on a single by Brantley. Miller’s single led to a 6-1 lead.
It was 6-2 going into the fourth when Miller and Martindale clubbed back-to-back triples. Martindale scored when Kehrees reached on an error. Jackson’s fly to left was misplayed then McElyea singled to make it 9-2.
A walk to Brantley incited the fifth-inning burst. With two down, Kehrees’ ball to first was botched. Jackson singled then worked a double steal as Kehrees scored. McElyea’s base hit chased in Jackson with the final run.