Bryant 15’s battle back, overtake White Hall for District crown

The District champion Bryant 15-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars. (Photo courtesy of Ron Boyd)WHITE HALL — They did it again.

As 14-year-olds, the Bryant All-Stars came back from the losers bracket to capture a State championship in 2009 avenging an opening round loss to their rivals from White Hall. Both teams eventually reached the Regionals at Bryant where they met in the losers bracket final. And Bryant ended White Hall’s summer.

As 15-year-olds this year, White Hall hosted District Tournament play and, again, sent Bryant to the losers bracket in the opening round. But, once more, Bryant came back to play White Hall for the championship. And, on Sunday, Bryant captured the crown with a compelling come-from-behind 10-8 win to force the winner-take-all finale which they also won, 15-4.

Chances are the two teams will see each other again. The State Tournament begins July 16 at Lonoke.

The Bryant 15’s include Zach Cambron, Evan Castleberry, Hayden Daniel, Josh Davis, Evan Ethridge, Cody Gogus, Tyler Green, Riley Hall, Blain Jackson, Tyler Nelson, Cameron Price, Daniel Richards, Tryce Schalchlin, Devon Sears and Marcus Wilson. The team will be managed by Jimmy Parker with assistance from Tony Ethridge.[more]

Bryant 10, White Hall 8

The Bryant Stars overcame 6-1 and 8-6 deficits with five runs in the second and four in the sixth to capture the championship. Shutdown pitching by Nelson to finish the fifth then get through the sixth and seventh helped as well.

Nelson provided offensive fireworks as well with two home runs. Gogus also belted a homer and Green provided a key two-run double in the sixth.

White Hall also smacked a pair of homers including a grand slam by Jeremy Sprinkle in the team’s six-run home first.

Nelson’s solo shot in the first opened the scoring. It came just moments after Daniel singled and was caught trying to steal.

In the bottom of the inning, Daniel, the Bryant starter, retired the first two batters with ease. But a single by Clay Cannon got White Hall going. Percy Arnold was hit by a pitch and Hunter Hale singled. Chris Smith was hit by a delivery then Dustin McCarty walked to set the stage for Sprinkle’s slam.

Green was hit by a pitch to start the Bryant second then Gogus unloaded on a 3-2 delivery from Smith, the White Hall starter.

Price beat out an infield hit then reached second safely on an error that allowed Ethridge to reach base as well. Jackson got a sacrifice bunt down and Daniel delivered a run with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-4. Nelson tied it with his second round-tripper.

Smith gave way to Sprinkle and Wilson reached on an error but he was stranded when Schalchlin flew out to left.

White Hall started the bottom of the inning with singles by Landon Reed and Tyler Carr. Cannon hit a blooper to center that fell in but Reed had to hold up and Green threw to third for a force before he could get there. A grounder to second and a tap back to the mound finished the inning with the game deadlocked.

Sprinkle pitched around a two-out single to Price and an error that allowed Ethridge to reach. Daniel, in turn, retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning and Sprinkle turned the same trick in the top of the fourth.

In the home fourth, however, Reed belted a solo homer to left-center with one down to snap the tie. In the fifth, Schalchlin relieved Daniel but hit Arnold and allowed a single to Hale. Nelson relieved and surrendered an RBI double as White Hall extended the lead to 8-6.

McCarty grounded out to short as Hale held at third. Sprinkle walked to load the bases but Nelson got out of the jam when Chris Bryan flew out to right, too shallow for Hale to tag and try to score. Reed then flew out to center.

Bryant’s game-turning uprising in the top of the sixth began with a one-out error that allowed Daniel to reach. Nelson drew a walk then Wilson beat out a bunt single to load the bases. Sprinkle got the second out on a pop to third but Green followed with a shot to deep center for a two-run double that tied the game. A third run scored when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. Green wound up at third and scored on a single by Gogus, making it 10-8.

White Hall mustered a one-out single by Cannon in the bottom of the inning but he was stranded. After Bryant went down in order in the top of the seventh, Smith walked but was forced at second to start White Hall’s last chance. Sprinkle reached on an error but Bryan struck out and Reed flew to right to end the game.

Bryant 15, White Hall 4

An eight-run second put the Bryant Stars on the road to capturing the championship. White Hall tried to rally from a 14-1 deficit with three in the third but Green, the third Bryant pitcher, squelched the rally and finished with two scoreless innings of relief.

Cambron blasted a solo homer in the fourth to complete the scoring.

Daniel had three hits and Nelson two as Bryant bashed 13 hits to take advantage of eight walks and an error as White Hall went through four pitchers.

A two-run first gave Bryant its initial lead. Daniel singled and stole second. Nelson bunted and beat it out for a hit. Wilson chased both home with a single up the middle.

In the bottom of the inning, Reed drew a walk from Wilson, the Bryant starter, Hale bounced into a force. But a wild pitch, a walk to Cannon and a balk put runners at second and third. Wilson fanned Arnold but Smith singled to left to make it 2-1. Wilson preserved the lead, however, by striking out Carr.

Bryant's outburst in the second began with Davis reaching on an error. Hale retired the next two but Nelson singled to get things going again and Hale lost track of the strike zone. He walked Wilson, Green and Gogus in succession.

Arnold relieved for White Hall and Price greeted him with a two-run single. Ethridge walked and Davis smacked a single to right that was misplayed. Castleberry drove in a run with a single then Daniel finished the inning with a base hit.

Wilson worked around a one-out walk in the bottom of the second and Bryant piled up four more runs in the top of the third. Green led off with a triple then scored when the ball was kicked around in the outfield. Cambron walked and, with two out, Ethridge singled. A walk to Jackson loaded the bases then Castleberry walked to force in a run and Daniel drove home two with a double.

Wilson retired the first two in the bottom of the third but a double by Arnold and a third-strike wild pitch that allowed Smith to reach kept the inning going. A passed ball allowed Arnold to score as Wilson walked McCarty and Cody Jones. Hall relieved but issued a walk to Zac Gober and surrendered a single to Josh Baldwin. Green came on and got Reed to pop to third to end the inning.

Cambron’s blast came with two out in the top of the fourth. Ethridge then worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning. In the fifth, he issued a one-out walk to Baldwin but got Reed to ground into a game- and tournament-ending doubleplay.

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