Bryant 14’s impressive in 6-1 win over Nederland at Regional opener

Chris Troillett hauls down a flyball in right during Friday's game.

BAY CITY, Texas — Bryant’s 14-year-old All-Stars may not have advanced to the Babe Ruth League’s Southwest Regional in the conventional way but, given the opportunity, as manager Jason Thompson said, they are going to do their best to represent the state of Arkansas and the Bryant program.

And, judging from the team’s opening game at the event, that’ll do just fine.

The Bryant Stars, behind a fine pitching performance from Wesley Akers, grabbed an early lead and dismissed the East Texas champion from the tradition-rich program at Nederland, 6-1, to open the Regional on Friday.

Bryant accepted the Regional bid when Clark County, which won the South Arkansas State championship over Bryant, was unable to go. Now, the Bryant Stars are on their way to a second-round match-up in the winners bracket against Twin Rivers, the Louisiana state champion, on Sunday at 11 a.m. The winner will advance to the winners bracket final.

The Bryant 14’s include Wesley Akers, Harrison Dale, Justin Emmerling, Zach Graddy, Ashton Green, Tristan Matthews, Austin Miller, Christopher Phillips, Nate Rutherford, Korey Thompson, Chris Troillett, Chase Tucker and Blake Yates. Jason Thompson manages the team with assistance from Mark Akers.[more]

Korey Thompson, left, leads off first.

Wesley Akers went the distance on the mound, allowing just one run on six hits. He walked four and struck out six while aided by a pair of doubleplays from his defense.

Offensively, Green and Akers each had two hits. Graddy, Phillips, Thompson and Yates added hits as well, as Bryant took advantage of six walks in an errorless contest.

Akers struck out the side in the first inning around a one-out single. In the bottom of the inning, Green led off with a single to right-center then Bryant took advantage of the wildness of Nederland starter Ryan Johnson. Dale walked then Akers was hit by a pitch to load the bases. All three eventually scored on wild pitches as Graddy and Tucker drew walks as well before Johnson settled in and retired the side.

Akers issued a one-out walk in the second but when the base-runner tried to steal second, Graddy gunned him down. Akers recorded his fourth strikeout to end the inning.

And Bryant added to its lead in the bottom of the frame. Rutherford singled to left, Thompson sacrificed him to second and, with two out, Dale drew a walk after fouling off a pair of 3-2 deliveries. Akers followed with a shot to center for an RBI single.

Nederland responded with its biggest threat of the game in the top of the third but could only muster one run. A singled and a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out. Another base hit brought in the run but then Akers fielded a comebacker to the mound and threw home for a force then Dale hauled in a liner to third to end the inning with Bryant still on top 4-1.

And it stayed that way through the fifth inning. In the bottom of the third, Matthews drew a one-out walk; Yates legged out an infield single in the fourth; and Graddy singled to center with one away in the fifth.

Meanwhile, Akers pitched around a scratch hit with one out in the fourth. In the fifth, he surrendered a two-out single and a walk but got the next batter to bounce out to end the threat.

In the top of the sixth, a lead-off hit gave Nederland some hope but that was dashed moments later when Akers fielded a roller back to the mound, whirled and threw to Green at second. He relayed it to Rutherford at first for the doubleplay. A pop to Rutherford at first completed the shutdown.

Bryant took the starch out of the Texans further in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Phillips walked and Thompson beat out an infield hit. Green smacked a single to center to drive in a run.

A passed ball allowed Thompson and Green to move to second and third but then Thompson was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on Dale’s tap back to the mound. Akers, however, capped the scoring with his second RBI single to center.

And, in the seventh, the right-hander only needed four pitches to dismiss Nederland, inducing a pop to Dale at third and consecutive groundouts to Green at short.


At Bay City, Texas

Friday, July 30

Game 1 — McComb (Mississippi) 9, Bay City (Host) 8

Game 2 — Bryant (South Arkansas) 6, Nederland (East Texas) 1

Game 3 — Twin Rivers (Lousiana) 5, Plainview (West Texas) 3

Game 4 — Eagle Pass (South Texas) 4, West Brazos (East Texas) 3

Saturday, July 31

Game 5 — Springdale (North Arkansas) vs. McComb, 11 a.m.

Game 6 — Nederland vs. Bay City, 1:30 p.m.

Game 7 — West Brazos vs. game 5 loser, 5 p.m.

Game 8 — Plainview vs. game 6 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 1

Game 9 — Bryant vs. Twin Rivers, 11 a.m.

Game 10 — Eagle Pass vs. game 5 winner, 1:30 p.m.

Game 11 — Game 7 winner vs. game 9 loser, 5 p.m.

Game 12 — Game 8 winner vs. game 10 loser, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 2

Game 13 — Game 9 winner vs. game 10 winner (winners bracket final), 1:30 p.m.

Game 14 — Game 11 winner vs. game 12 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 15 — Game 14 winner vs. game 13 loser (losers bracket final), 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 3

Championship round

Game 16 — Game 13 winner vs. game 15 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 17 — Game 13 winner vs. game 15 winner, 6:30 p.m. (if game 15 winner wins game 16)

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