BENTON — They won it going away. The Bryant All-Stars captured the 2013 14-year-old Babe[more] Ruth State championship Tuesday night at Bernard Holland Park.
Though it was tight early, Bryant kept up a scoring pace that the rival Benton All-Stars could not maintain, scoring in all but one inning including six times in the top of the seventh for a 13-3 win in the State title game. The win completed a sweep of the competition by Bryant, outscoring five opponents 66-4. In fact, when Benton scored two runs in the second inning of Tuesday’s game, it ended a 22-inning shutout streak for Bryant pitchers.
The Bryant 14-and-under team is managed by Jerry East. The players are Logan Allen, Drew Brown, Cameron Coleman, Jake East, Lawson Fincher, Jeffrey Hastings, Dylan Hurt, Austin Kelly, Hayden Knowles, Preston Kyzer, Garrett Misenheimer, Aaron Orender, Kyle Sahr, Alex Shurtleff and Diego Vargas.
The team will advance to the Southwest Regional Tournament in Levelland, Texas, which starts July 26.
The core of the team won the 13-year-old World Series championship in 2012.
Benton’s two runs in the second cut Bryant’s lead to 3-2. Bryant had pushed a run across in the first when Shurtleff reached on a two-out error, Misenheimer was hit by a pitch and Hurt singled in the run.
In the second, Coleman led off with a home run. Two outs later, East singled, stole second and scored on Orender’s double to make it 3-0.
Shurtleff, who went the distance on the mound walking two, hitting a batter and striking out 11, surrendered a single, a double, a walk and a bunt hit in the two-run second. But he worked around a double and an error in the third then had a 1-2-3 fourth.
In the meantime, the offense continued to produce. Misenheimer led off the third with a triple to deep center. Hurt got a bunt down for an RBI hit to make it 4-2.
Hastings singled to open the fourth. He stole second then scored in front of East when he blasted a 2-1 pitch to deep center and circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run to make it 6-2.
In the top of the fifth, Coleman tripled into the right-field corner and Allen got the squeeze bunt down to get him home.
Benton added a run in the bottom of the fifth. A single and a hit batsman set the table. Though Bryant turned a nifty doubleplay, a walk and a two-out single followed, making it 7-3.
Neither team scored in the sixth. Shurtleff retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning. He would work around a one-out walk to close out the win in the bottom of the seventh.
By then, however, any doubt about the outcome was gone as Bryant unloaded in the top of the seventh. The blitz began with Kelly being hit by a pitch. Coleman, who wound up a single shy of the cycle, doubled. Both scored on a two-base hit by Allen.
With one out, East and Orender beat out infield hits, setting the table for Shurtleff’s three-run triple. He would score on a wild pitch to complete the scoring but, even had he not, he would’ve on Brown’s two-out double.