PINE BLUFF — The Eagle Pass, Texas, 15-and-under All-Stars came a long way to play in the Babe Ruth Southwest Regional Tournament this weekend and they are determined.
At the expense of the Bryant Black Sox, Eagle Pass advanced in the winners’ bracket on Saturday, 7-2, knocking Bryant into the losers’ bracket where they’ll face an elimination game on Sunday at 1 p.m., against the other Texas entry in the tournament from Plainview.
The Bryant 15’s, coached by Jerry East, includes J.T. Parker, Caleb Greiner, Gavin Burton, Connor Martin, Drew Hatman, Calvin Myles, Colby Morrow, Braxton Prather, Jaxon Ham, Cade Parker, Logan White, Dylan Jones, Hayden Thompson and Kyler Pabon.
Eagle Pass advanced to the winners’ bracket final against host White Hall, which beat out Bryant for the State title.
One back inning, late in the game, spoiled what looked like it was going to be a Bryant victory.
Eagle Pass scored a run in the first and Bryant tied it in the second. It stayed 1-1 until the sixth with the Sox scratched out a run to take a lead.
But the roof crashed in on Bryant in the bottom of the sixth as Eagle Pass erupted for six runs. With only three outs to try to answer that, the Sox came up empty.
The thing that made it even more disappointing was the fact that the Texas team wound up with just two hits, taking advantage of four walks, two hit batsmen and five errors.
Thompson surrendered the run in the first then shut out Eagle Pass until the sixth. Hatman relieved with one out in the inning but the errors undermined the effort. All seven runs for Eagle Pass were unearned.
Bryant had six hits including two for White and two for Ham. Both of their runs were unearned as Eagle Pass committed a pair of errors.
A pair of errors allowed Eagle Pass to gain the lead initially without a hit.
Bryant’s tying run came after two were out. Pabon singled to right then Ham beat out an infield knock. Thompson followed with a grounder to third where it was booted allowing Pabon to score the tying run.
Eagle Pass threatened in the bottom of the third with a single, a sacrifice and a walk but Thompson worked out of the pickle with the help of his defense.
Morrow singled with one out in the top of the fourth and, with two down, Pabon walked. But they were stranded.
Neither team mustered much until Bryant’s half of the sixth when White lined a single to center, advanced to second on an error and third on a passed ball as Burton drew a walk. J.T. Parker’s grounder to short resulted in a doubleplay but White scored to give the Sox a 2-1 edge.
Morrow walked to try to extend the inning, but Eagle Pass got the third out on a bouncer to third to send it to the bottom of the sixth.
With one out, a walk and the second Eagle Pass hit, a single set the table. An error loaded the bases then a hit batsman forced in the tying run.
Hatman relieved and struck out the first batter he faced. With two down, however, another hit batsman forced in the go-ahead run. And, on a grounder that would’ve ended the inning, another error cost the Sox. Two runs scored. Another miscue made it 7-2 before Hatman got the third out on strikes.
In the top of the seventh, Ham lined a one-out single to center then Hatman drew a walk.
After a pitching change, a pair of strikeouts ended the game.