ARKADELPHIA — When the Clark County All-Stars built up a 9-0 lead over the first five innings then took a 9-2 lead to the seventh, it looked like they were on their way to the championship round of the 14-year-old Babe Ruth District Tournament at Sturgis Field on Sunday.
But the Bryant All-Stars, down to their last three outs in the winners bracket final, put together an incredible 11-run rally in the seventh to snatch victory away from their hosts.
It is thus Bryant that advances to the championship round while Clark County found itself battling back through the losers bracket to gain a rematch.
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]
Bryant’s big comeback began with a wild streak by the Clark County pitcher who had started the game and pitched shut-out ball for five innings. Thompson, Miller, Dale, Akers and Graddy drew consecutive walks.
A pair of strikeouts followed which appeared to get Clark County back on track. But, just an out from ending it, Clark County could not get it nailed down. Tucker drew a free pass that forced in a run to make it 9-5.
Emmerling then came through with the first hit of the inning. Walks to Thompson and Miller kept the carousel turning then Dale reached on an error before Akers clobbered a home run to cap off the onslaught.
Thompson, who came on in relief of Akers in the fifth, pitched around a one-out error in the bottom of the inning to close it out.
Bryant was held without a hit until Green doubled with two out in the fourth. By then Clark County had taken a 4-0 lead with an unearned run in the first and three more unearned in the third.
Bryant actually loaded the bases in the fourth. Graddy had been hit by a pitch before Green’s hit and Rutherford walked after it but all three were stranded.
Clark County answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the fifth to make it 9-0.
Bryant scratched out two in the top of the sixth after stranding two more in the fifth. Graddy walked to start the sixth and Green singled. Both eventually scored as Rutherford grounded out and Tucker walked.
Thompson settled in after surrendered the two fifth-inning runs and retired Clark County in order in the bottom of the sixth to set the stage for Bryant’s unlikely comeback.