Bryant 6’s narrowly miss Regional crown, finish as runners-up

SHERWOOD — The Bryant 6-year-old All-Stars played the Orange Grove, Miss., All-Stars right down to the seeds twice but came up a run short in the winners bracket final and the championship game. Orange Grove’s 13-12 win over Bryant on Monday captured the championship with Bryant finishing as the runner-up.

The Bryant team of 6-year-olds, managed by Jason Greiner with assistance from Wesley Grant and Ryan Martin, includes Evan Barrett, Luke Dreher, Dawson Goines, Dawson Grant, Caleb Greiner, Kason Highfill, Logan Hope, Conner Martin, Logan McDonald, Cade Parker, Hayden Thompson and Logan White.[more]

Bryant opened pool play on Friday, July 16, with a 10-8 win over Lonoke. The next morning they edged Little Rock Junior Deputy, 5-1, to set up the first meeting with Orange Grove. That game went to the Mississippi team, 8-1. And, that evening, Van Buren’s All-Stars topped Bryant 6-2.

In tournament play, Bryant prevailed over Madisonville, La., 14-7, on Sunday then knocked off Sylvan Hills, 6-4. On Monday, they outslugged Cabot, 18-11, to set up a rematch with Orange Grove. Though they came within an out of winning, the Bryant Stars suffered a tough 15-14 loss.

They came back to eliminate Van Buren later that afternoon, 15-8, in the losers bracket final.

In their fourth game of the day, Bryant’s All-Stars went into the bottom of the fifth with a 12-11 lead only to have Orange Grove win it with a two-run rally.

Orange Grove, Miss. 13, Bryant 12

Mississippi scored two runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead initially but Bryant answered with the maximum six in the top of the second.

Parker started the rally with a single then Goines got a base hit but was out trying to get to second. Grant doubled in the first run then McDonald traded places with him on another two-base hit. Barrett singled the Greiner cracked a double. Base hits by Dreher and White completed the inning.

Orange Grove got those six runs back in the bottom of the inning to regain the advantage, 8-6.

In the third, however, Bryant revved up the offense again to seesaw back into the lead, 12-8. With one out, Martin singled and Hope cracked a double. With two down, the hits came in succession by Parker, Goines, Grant, McDonald and Barrett. Parker’s was another double.

Orange Grove struck back and pulled within 12-11 before Bryant retired the side.

Neither team, though, could get anything going into the fourth. Bryant went down in order in the top of the fifth and , with a double, a single and a groundout, Orange Grove pushed across the tying and winning runs.

Bryant 15, Van Buren 8

Avenging one of their pool play losses, Bryant ousted Van Buren by building a 10-1 lead in the first two innings then holding on. Van Buren rallied for five in the third only to have Bryant score four more in the top of the fourth. A two-run rally for Van Buren in the fourth wasn’t enough so when Bryant added a run in the fifth, it put the game out of reach.

Bryant’s first five-run outburst in the first was instigated by Martin with an lead-off single. Hope cracked a double then Thompson and Parker followed with base hits. With one out, Grant drilled a two-base hit and, with two down, Barrett capped the inning with a base hit.

Van Buren managed a run in the bottom of the inning then Dreher’s double to open the second set things in motion again for Bryant. With one out, Highfill singled. With two away, Hope slapped a single then Thompson, Parker and Goines blasted consecutive doubles to make it 10-1.

After Van Buren trimmed the margin to 10-8, Dreher started the bottom of the fourth with a single. White and Highfill each had base hits then Martin blasted a triple. Two outs later, Parker’s single made it 14-8.

The clinching run in the fifth came as a result of a single by Grant and an RBI double by McDonald.

Orange Grove, Miss., 15, Bryant 14

Bryant led 14-9 going into the bottom of the fifth when Orange Grove rallied for the maximum six runs to win it. A single and three straight triples put them in position to win it. Bryant retired the next two batters but hits followed that completed the comeback.

Bryant had taken a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Martin and Hope singled then Thompson grounded into a force at second. With two down, Goines and McDonald came through with hits to drive in the runs.

Orange Grove cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning but Bryant upped the advantage again in the second. Barrett singled and, an out later, so did Dreher. Grant reached on a force as Dreher was retired but Highfill and Martin singled to chase home the runs to make it 5-2.

Orange Grove rallied to tie it, however, with a three-run home second.

In turn, Bryant maxed out in the third to build a commanding 11-5 lead. With one out, Parker, Goines and McDonald cracked consecutive singles. White bounced into a force at second as Parker scored. Barnett, Geiner, Dreher and Grant got the carousel going again with singles to complete the uprising.

And when the top of the Orange Grove lineup went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, it looked like Bryant threatened to put the game completely out of reach in the top of the fourth.

Martin, Hope and Thompson singled with one out before Goines cleared the bases with a triple to make it 14-5. But he was stranded at third as Orange Grove got the final out of the inning, leaving a crack in the door.

Four runs in the bottom of the fourth were just enough to keep them alive.

White led off the fifth with a single but Orange Grove turned a doubleplay to take the starch our of the Bryant offense which was held without a run for the only time all game long which prevented them from clinching the win.

Bryant 18, Cabot 11

Scoring six runs in each of the first two innings, Bryant outlasted Cabot which scored in all four at-bats but never the maximum.

In the six-run first, Bryant stroked six hits before Cabot could get an out. Martin and Hope singled in front of a double by Thompson. Parker added a base hit before Goines belted a two-base hit. McDonald singled and, after the out was recorded, Barrett’s double made it 6-0.

Cabot gamely scored five times in the bottom of the inning but early on, Bryant threw a runner out at the plate to help keep it to five runs.

The second max inning began with Greiner’s double. An out later, Grant singled and Highfill lashed a two-base hit. Martin singled, Hope double and Thompson tripled as the lead grew to 11-5. A base hit by Parker completed the inning.

Cabot trimmed it to 11-9 with four in the bottom of the inning only to have Bryant pull away again with five more in the third.

Goines singled to start the inning but was out trying to go to second on a bloop by McDonald that fell in. White singled but was tagged out trying to stretch the hit into a double but then Barrett, Greiner and Dreher drilled consecutive two-base hits. Grant singled then Highfill hammered his second double. After Martin’s hit drove in a run and put runners at second and third, Cabot managed to get the third out to keep it to 17-9.

A run in the bottom of the third kept Cabot alive but runners were stranded at second and third.

With a chance to end the game in the top of the fourth, Bryant was held scoreless and Cabot tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning.

That’s when Bryant put it out of reach with a final run in the top of the fifth on singles by Greiner, Derher and Highfill.

Bryant 6, Sylvan Hills 4

In a defensive battle, Bryant took a 3-0 lead in the first then built a 6-3 lead through three innings and held on for the win.

Sylvan Hills rallied for a run in the top of the fourth but stranded a runner and, in the fifth, got a runner to third without scoring as grounders to Goines in the pitcher’s circle and Greiner at second ended the game.

The initial Bryant uprising featured singles by Martin and Thompson around a double by Hope. With one out, Goines and McDonald singled to make it 3-0. With two down, Barrett drove one to the outfield but Sylvan Hills made a nice play to get a force at second to end the inning.

A triple and a groundout produced a run in the bottom of the inning but Sylvan Hills didn’t get another runner on base until the bottom of the third when back-to-back doubles and a single produced two more runs.

But Bryant had added a run in the bottom of the second to stay ahead. Greiner doubled, advanced on a tap out by Dreher and scored on a base hit by Grant to make it 4-1 at the time.

And, after Sylvan Hills had trimmed the lead to 4-3, Bryant put together a two-run third that proved to be the difference. Martin singled to start the inning and advanced to second on a grounder to second by Hope. Thompson singled and, with two down, Goines and McDonald drove in the runs with back-to-back singles.

Bryant 14, Madisonville, La. 7

Maximum scoring in the second and third put Bryant on the road to victory over the Louisiana team. A run in the fourth clinched the victory making the lead too much for Madisonville to overcome.

Bryant fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first but trimmed a run off the lead in the bottom of the inning when Martin doubled and Parker tripled.

The second inning proved pivotal as Bryant held Madisonville without a run then scored six in the home half. A one-out single by White started the Bryant uprising. Barrett doubled and, with two down, Dreher followed suit ahead of a triple by Grant. Highfill singled in Grant. Martin singled then Hope drove in two with a double to make it 7-2.

Madisonville rallied to tie it in the top of the third but couldn’t match Bryant’s max inning in the bottom of the third. Louisiana was held without a run in the top of the fourth so Bryant clinched the win in the bottom of the inning when Martin singled and scored on Hope’s double.

The game-breaking third started out with singles by Parker and Goines. McDonald and White followed with doubles to make it 10-7. Barrett, Greiner and Dreher followed with singles before Grant doubled to finish off the scoring.

Van Buren 6, Bryant 2

Bryant grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first but was prevented from denting the plate after that by a solid Van Buren defense and a tendency to pop up the ball.

Van Buren took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the first but couldn’t expand the lead as Bryant got stingy with its defense as well. A run in the bottom of the fourth made it 6-2 and Bryant was unable to scratch anything out in the fifth.

The first-inning runs were a result of singles by White, Martin and Parker.

The Bryant Stars had base-runners in every inning after that but couldn’t chase them around. Barrett singled in the second then Thompson and Martin had base hits in the third. In the fourth, Parker and Greiner each singled to no avail.

In the fifth, Barrett singled again but was forced at second on a grounder by Dreher. Hope popped out and Dreher was tagged out to end the game.

Orange Grove, Miss. 8, Bryant 1

A scoreless battle through the first two innings, Bryant broke through with a run in the third when, with two out, White doubled and McDonald singled him in.

In turn, however, Orange Grove pushed five runs home to take the lead.

Bryant’s fourth produced a single by Martin with one out but he was forced on a grounder to short by Parker. Greiner singled but a pop to second ended the threat.

Orange Grove scored three in the bottom of the inning to end the game with a lead too great for Bryant to overcome with a six-run inning limit and one frame left.

Bryant 5, Little Rock Junior Deputy 1

Bryant broke open a 2-1 battle with a three-run fourth then held Junior Deputy’s Stars in the fifth to capture the win.

Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the first when White doubled and, with two down, Parker and Greiner came through with singles.

In the second, Dreher cracked a two-out single and scored on a base hit by Hope to make it 2-0.

The Little Rock team broke through with a run in the bottom of the third and threatened to tie it but Highfill threw a runner out at the plate from first to preserve the lead.

The game-breaking fourth began with a single by Martin. He was forced at second on a grounder by Parker but Greiner singled then McDonald mashed a three-run homer to set the final score.

Junior Deputy managed a two-out single in the top of the fifth but nothing more.

Bryant 10, Lonoke 8

Lonoke grabbed a 6-0 lead in the top of the first inning then came up empty in the next three innings as Bryant rallied with a three-run third and a five-run fourth to take the lead.

Lonoke tied it with two runs in the top of the fifth only to have Bryant win it with a dramatic two-run triple by Martin in the bottom of the inning.

Hope had singled to start the bottom of the fifth but was forced at second on a grounder to short by Thompson. Greiner beat out a base hit then so did Highfill.

But Highfill was tagged out as he tried to go to second. So Martin came up with two out and ended it.

Bryant was scoreless until the third. Cutting Lonoke’s lead in half, Goines doubled and, with one out, so did Dreher and Hope. Thompson drove home the third run with a grounder to short.

In the bottom of the fourth, Martin got things going with a one-out single. Parker and Grant belted doubles. McDonald singled but was tagged out trying to get to second. White singled before Goines ripped a triple to clear the bases. Barrett singled him in to make it 8-6 before Lonoke tied it in the top of the fifth.

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