MOUNTAIN HOME — Liam Miller’s one-out single in the bottom of the seventh drove in Connor Tatum with the[more] winning run as the Bryant 14-year-old All-Stars won in walk-off fashion, 6-5, over Eagle Pass, Texas on Saturday. Bryant advances to the winners bracket of the 2012 Babe Ruth League Southwest Regional Tournament. They were set to play either Mountain Home or Long Beach, Miss., today at 5 p.m.
The Bryant team, managed by Mark Kehrees with assistance from Seth Doxey and Blain Jackson, includes Connor Alliston, Bailey Bowers, Luke Brantley, Chase Brooks, Daniel Darbonne, Zach Jackson, Nick Kehrees, Zach Knapp, Mike Martindale, Caleb McElyea, Miller and Tatum.
Miller’s game-winning shot to the fence in right-center was set up when McElyea and Tatum drew walks to start the home seventh. Brantley’s grounder to third resulted in a force there but Martindale re-ignited the rally with a single to left that loaded the bases for Miller, who was named the player of the game.
Bryant had tied the game, 5-5, in the bottom of the sixth when Darbonne singled, stole second, took third on a sacrifice bunt by Kehrees and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bowers.
Brantley, who went the distance on the mound, hit the Texans’ Antonio Galvan with one out in the top of the seventh. An error and a base hit by Erykk Fuentes followed as Eagle Pass loaded the bases. But Brantley wriggled off the hook when he got Adrian Torres to fly out to Martindale in center and lead-off man Juan Garza lined one to Tatum at short to end the inning.
Brantley scattered nine hits, walked just one but hit three. His only 1-2-3 inning was the top of the first.
In the bottom of that opening inning, Bryant jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Walks to Tatum, Brantley and Martindale set the table for Miller, who started what he eventually finished with a bases-clearing double.
Eagle Pass got on the board in the top of the second when Armando Lopez was hit by a pitch and Riccardo Gonzalez belted a two-run homer. With two down, Fuentes singled and Torres reached on an error. A single by Garza tied the game.
Bryant untied it in the bottom of the inning when, with two down, Tatum walked and sprinted home when Brantley’s drive to left was misplayed.
A one-out single by Lopez and a walk to Gonzalez had Eagle Pass threatening again in the third but Galvan bounced to Brooks for a force at third and Brantley struck out Nomar De La Garea.
In the fourth, Brantley worked around a one-out single to Torres. In turn, Gonzalez, the Eagle Pass pitcher, worked around a walk to Brooks and a single to right by McElyea.
The Texans took the lead in the top of the fifth on base hits by Olexis Gutierrez, Lopez and Gonzalez and an RBI groundout by De La Garea.
Trailing 5-4, Bryant was set down in order in the bottom of the fifth but, after Brantley pitched around a single and a hit batsman in the top of the sixth, the Stars manufactured the tying tally in the bottom of the inning.