Bryant 14’s move a win away from World Series

MOUNTAIN HOME — Celebrating his 15th birthday, Connor Alliston pitched three shutout innings and contributed an[more] RBI single to a game-breaking seven-run second as the Bryant 14-year-old All-Stars advanced to the championship round of the 2012 Cal Ripken Southwest Regional Tournament with a 16-5 romp over the host Mountain Home team.

Bryant will play at 8 p.m. on Monday against the survivor of the losers bracket final between Mountain Home and Wharton, Texas, which will be played at 5. If Bryant wins, it will represent the Region at the Babe Ruth World Series for 14-year-old teams at Murray, Utah, starting Aug. 18. A loss on Monday would result in a winner-take-all Regional final Tuesday.

The Bryant team, managed by Mark Kehrees with assistance from Seth Doxey and Blain Jackson, includes Alliston, Bailey Bowers, Luke Brantley, Chase Brooks, Daniel Darbonne, Zach Jackson, Nick Kehrees, Zach Knapp, Mike Martindale, Caleb McElyea, Liam Miller and Connor Tatum.

Bryant’s defense pulled off doubleplays in each of the first three innings to help keep Mountain Home off the scoreboard. In the meantime, the Stars built a 16-0 lead. Mountain Home rallied for five in the bottom of the fourth but, after Kehrees got out of the fourth-inning jam forcing Mountain Home to leave the base loaded, Tatum closed out the win in the bottom of the fifth.

Bryant took advantage of seven walks and three hit batsmen with 12 hits including two each by Tatum and McElyea.

The team’s three-run first set the tone. Martindale drew a one-out walk and, with two down, Miller drew a free pass. Jackson belted a double to drive them in then followed when Alliston reached on an error.

The big second inning started with an error that allowed McElyea to reach. He stole second then Kehrees drew a walk. Tatum singled in both and, after Martindale walked, a double steal put them in scoring position. Tatum scored on a passed ball.

With two down, Jackson reached on an error and Alliston came through with an RBI single. Base hits by Bowers, McElyea, Kehrees and Tatum completed the blitz to make it 10-0.

In the fourth, Bowers was hit by a pitch and McElyea walked. Kehrees singled to drive in a run then Tatum walked to load the bases. Martindale delivered a sacrifice fly and Brantley singled to make it 13-0.

After a pitching change, Miller walked and Tatum scored on a passed ball. With runners at second and third, Brooks smacked a single up the middle to complete the scoring.

Mountain Home’s fourth started with a single and a grounder to second for a force out. A stolen base, a walk and a base hit loaded the bases and a walk forced in a run.

McElyea relieved and walked a pair so Kehrees got the call to the mound. Another walk and a base hit made it 16-5 before Kehrees got the final two outs on strikes.

Tatum allowed a pair of two-out singles in the fifth but got the final out on a tap back to the mound.

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