SHERWOOD — The Bryant 6-year-old All-Stars are champions of the South State tournament. They will be the top seed from the South at the Regional tournament in El Dorado which begins July 23.
The Bryant 6 year olds, coached by Matt Orender with assistance from Patrick Schroeder and Jimmy Pennington, include Luke Bessire, Clay Curtis, Cooper Davis, Josh Day, Peyton Dillon, Gavin Glasgow, Austin Ledbetter, Jagger Littleton, Justin Orender, Brett Pennington, Austin Schroeder, and Blaine Sears.
They completed a sweep of the State tourney with a 15-10 win over their rivals from Benton in the championship game on Tuesday night, rallying from 5-2 and 8-7 deficits. The win was keyed by a six-run fourth inning followed by two frames in which they limited Benton’s hitters to one run.[more]
As was the case in their previous matchup in the winners bracket final, which Bryant won 11-10, the game went back and forth dramatically.
Benton held the 8-7 edge going into the game-turning fourth. Bessire ignited the Bryant comeback with a base hit, followed by a double off Littleton’s bat. With one out, Bessire scored when Davis grounded to the left side and Littleton was retired on a fielder’s choice.
But consecutive singles were racked up after that by the top of the Bryant order, Schroeder, Pennington, Ledbetter, Glasgow and Orender to produce a 13-8 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Benton scratched out a run but was forced to strand a runner at third when Schroeder fielded a grounder at second and threw for the out then Glasgow hauled in a pop up to end the inning.
Bryant added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth. Day singled and scored on a triple by Curtis, who scored moments later on a groundout by Sears.
Trailing 15-9, Benton needed the maximum of six runs to stay alive in the bottom of the fifth. A lead-off single provided some hope. After a pop out to Pennington, two more singles brought the run around to score and Benton had runners at first and second with one away. The next batter hit a pop towards Pennington at short. Though he wasn’t able to make the play on the fly, he picked up the loose ball, tagged the runner heading from second to third then beat the runner from first to second for an unassisted doubleplay to end the game in spectacular fashion.
Benton had taken a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Bryant got two back in the top of the second. Orender singled up the middle and, with one out, Curtis singled to left and took off for second. He was thrown out but Orender was able to score. Sears and Bessire singled to set the table for Littleton who doubled in a run. Bessire, however, was thrown out at the plate trying to score as well.
Benton added a run in the bottom of the inning but Bryant rallied for five in the third to take a 7-5 lead.
Dillon, Davis and Schroeder opened the inning with singles and, an out later, Ledbetter followed suit. Glasgow’s double added to the scoring. Orender singled but was forced at second on a grounder to third by Day as a runs scored. A base hit by Curtis brought in the final run.
Benton answered with three in the bottom of the inning to regain the advantage, but only briefly.