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Photos courtesy of Nathan Horn
GREENWOOD — Saturday was a good day for the Bryant 7’s tournament team but Sunday[more] wasn’t so much.
On Saturday, the team won both of its games in pool play and earned a number one seed for bracket play at the USSSA Southwest Shootout. The wins also gave the team a 22-0 record against other 7-year-old teams this spring. But, in the first round of bracket play on Sunday, the team was surprised by the Arkansas Legends, absorbing a 10-7 loss to end their bid for the Shootout championship.
Bryant overwhelmed the Arkansas Knights, 12-1, and topped the NWA Bombers, 8-2, on Saturday.
The team, which is coached by Kevin Nagle, includes Brady Brower, Reid Catton, Clay Crawford, Gage Horn, Aiden Hughes, Dylan Hunt, Grant Johnson, Carson Kemp, Julius McClellan, C.J. Nagle, Aden Palmer and Caden Stovall.
Bryant 12, Arkansas Knights 1
Scoring the maximum of seven runs in the bottom of the second, Bryant broke open its first game.
Horn led the offense with a 3-for-3 day with two runs batted in. Johnson, McClellan, Catton, Palmer, Crawford and Hughes each had two hits.
Bryant took the early led with two runs in the bottom of the first. Horn singled and Johnson doubled him home for the first run. Nagle singled Johnson to third then Hunt lifted a fly ball that was caught and Johnson tried to score but was called out for not tagging up. But base hits by McClellan, Catton and Palmer brought Nagle around for the second run.
Crawford’s base hit started the seven-run second. Base hits by Brower and Hughes brought Crawford around to score. And when the throw got away, Brower scored as well. Horn doubled in Hughes to make it 5-0.
Johnson followed with an RBI single and, with two down, hits by Hunt and McClellan produced a run before Catton’s RBI double and Palmer’s run-scoring single maxed out the inning.
The Bryant defense, meanwhile, retired the first six Knights batters. In the top of the third, however, the Knights put together three hits to get on the board.
In turn, Bryant tacked on three runs. Stovall led off the home third with a triple and scored on Crawford’s base hit. With two down, Hughes singled and Horn doubled in two to set the final score.
In the top of the fourth, the Knights had four hits but Bryant picked off two runners along the way to undermine the rally.
Bryant 8, NWA Bombers 2
Against the Bombers, Bryant erupted for six runs in the bottom of the second to take control of the game.
Again, Horn had three hits with McClellan, Crawford, Kemp and Hughes contributing two apiece.
NWA had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning. In Bryant’s second, McClellan and Catton got things going with singles. Palmer bounced into a force at third and Stovall flew out to center but Crawford came through in the clutch with an RBI double. Kemp singled in two and Brower doubled him to third to set the stage for back-to-back doubles by Hughes and Horn that capped the inning.
The Bombers got a run back in the top of the third and it was 6-2 until Bryant tacked on a pair in the home fourth.
Stovall was the instigator this time, with an opening base hit. Crawford grounded into a force at second but Kemp singled and, when a throw got away, Crawford hustled around to score. Kemp wound up on third and scored on Brower’s groundout.
NWA put a pair aboard in the top of the fifth but they were stranded.
Arkansas Legends 10, Bryant 7
Bryant held a 4-0 lead going into the top of the third when the Legends put up six on the way to building a 10-4 lead. Bryant rallied in the fifth but fell short of pulling even.
Nagle, Horn, Catton, Palmer and Brower each had two hits.
Bryant broke up a scoreless game with four in the second. One-out singles by Catton, Palmer and Stovall loaded the bases for Crawford who singled in the game’s first run. Palmer was picked off third but Kemp cleared the bases with a triple to make it 3-0. He scored on a base hit by Brower.
After the Legends’ big inning, Bryant made a bid to counter in the bottom of the third when Nagle singled and Horn doubled but they were stranded.
The Legends scored an additional run in the top of the fourth and Bryant started the home fourth with hits by Catton and Palmer. But they too were left aboard.
It was 10-4 going into the home fifth. Brower fired up the Bryant offense with a lead-off single. Though he was forced at second on a grounder to third by Hughes, Nagle blooped a single to left that allowed Hughes to hustle all the way home.
After Nagle was forced at second on a grounder by Horn, base hits by Johnson and Hunt plated two. McClellan ripped a double to center to bring the potential tying run to the plate but the Legends got the final out to escape with the win.