SHERWOOD — After dropping the first game of the 8-and-under State baseball tournament, the[more] Bryant 7-year-old All-Stars have battled back through the losers bracket, eliminating five teams going into today’s game at 6 p.m., against the Benton 8’s.
The 7-year-old team, managed by Jeremy Stovall, is Garrison Blacklaw, Brady Brower, Reid Catton, Clay Crawford, Gage Horn, Dillon Hunt, Grant Johnson, Carson Kemp, Gideon Motes, Carson Nagle, Hank Penfield, and Caden Stovall.
The opening setback was a 10-3 game against the Star City Bulldogs. After that, Bryant ousted Brinkley, 11-1; West Helena Twin City, 15-3; Marion, 10-0; Lakewood, 11-4; and Jacksonville, 8-1.
Bryant 8, Jacksonville 1
Three-run outbursts in each of the first two innings and defensive play that kept Jacksonville off the board until the fifth inning, put Bryant in position to win Sunday’s third game. Johnson, Horn and Kemp led the way with three hits each.
In the first inning, Bryant got on the board quickly on a double by Kemp and a triple by Blacklaw. Hunt followed with an infield hit as Blacklaw held at third. Nagle singled in a run and, after Horn bounced into a force at second, Johnson doubled to make it 3-0.
There were two down when the second-inning uprising began. Crawford and Motes singled and Catton doubled in a run. Kemp’s base hit drove in two to make it 6-0.
It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when Crawford and Catton singled ahead of an RBI double by Kemp.
After Jacksonville scored on a triple and an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fifth, Bryant put the game out of reach (with the six-run maximum per inning) in the top of the sixth on consecutive singles by Hunt, Nagle, Horn and Johnson.
Bryant 11, Lakewood 4
Catton and Hunt had three hits each as Bryant overcame an early 2-0 deficit to build a 7-2 lead. Lakewood cut the margin to three in the top of the third but could get no more after that while Bryant tacked on single runs in the third and fifth and a two-spot in the fourth.
Trailing 2-0, Bryant scored four times in the bottom of the first. Catton singled and scored on Blacklaw’s triple. Hunt doubled in the tying run then scored to put his team ahead on a single by Nagle. After Horn grounded into a fielder’s choice, he stole second and scored on Johnson’s hit to make it 4-2.
Lakewood was retired in order in the top of the second and Bryant countered with three more, sparked by a one-out single by Brower. He stole second and, after Crawford singled and swiped a base, Motes drove in both to make it 6-2. Mote took second on an error and scored when Catton slapped a single to right.
It was 7-4 when Bryant came to bat in the third. Hunt singled, stole second, took third on Nagle’s groundout and scored on a single by Horn to make it a four-run lead.
In the fourth, Penfield ignited a two-run frame with a double. Singles from Brwoer and Crawford brought him around. Mote bounced into a force at second but Catton singled in Brower to make it 10-4.
With the six-run limit in each inning, Lakewood still had a shot to rally but couldn’t scratch in the top of the fifth. When Blacklaw singled, stole second and scored on Hunt’s double to right in the bottom of the inning, it was out of reach, ending the game.
Bryant 10, Marion 0
The Bryant defense held Marion to just two hits and the offense produced a 4-0 lead in the first inning then put the game away with three in the third and three more in the fourth. Kemp knocked in three runs and Horn two.
The opening salvo, doubles by Kemp and Blacklaw broke the ice. Hunt singled in a run and, with one out, Hunt stole second and scored on a line-drive single by Horn.
In Bryant’s third, Nagle singled and dashed home on a triple by Horn. With two down, Stovall knocked in Horn with a base hit. He followed on Penfield’s two-bagger.
Singles by Crawford and Motes set the table in the bottom of the fourth. Catton doubled in a run and Kemp singled in two to end it.
Bryant 15, West Helena Twin City 3
Bryant’s five-run third, highlighted by Kemp's grand slam, wiped out a 2-1 tie and, with three in the fourth and six in the fifth, the game was over.
Bryant scratched first when Catton and started the game with singles. Horn grounded into a force at second as Catton took third. He then scored on a groundout by Hunt.
Twin City took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning and that held until the third. Brower’s bunt single turned into three bases at West Helena threw the ball around. Crawford singled him in and Motes kept the carousel going with a single. A bunt hi by Catton loaded the bases for Kemp who blasted his grand slam, giving Bryant a 6-2 lead.
West Helena trimmed a run off the margin in the bottom of the third but would not score again. In the top of the fourth, Blacklaw singled and, with one out, Stovall beat out a bunt hit. Penfield doubled in a run and, after Brower beat out a bunt as the other runners held, Stovall and Penfield wound up coming home when Crawford popped out but an errant throw followed as West Helena tried to get a doubleplay.
Bryant’s game-ending uprising in the fifth started with a double by Catton, a triple from Kemp and a single by Horn. Hunt grounded into a force at second then base hits by Nagle, Blacklaw, Johnson, Stovall and Penfield ensued. Crawford’s two-out double brought the inning and the contest to a conclusion.
Bryant 11, Brinkley 1
A six-run second put the Bryant 7’s on the way to their first win of the tournament. They had a 1-0 lead going into the second because, in the first, Catton’s bunt and subsequent throws allowed him to reach third. He scored from there on a hit by Hunt.
The second-inning outburst started with a double by Nagle. Stovall sacrificed him to third and Johnson doubled him home. Penfield cracked a single to left and Brower beat out a bunt single to load the bases for Crawford, who started a string of RBI singles, with Motes, Catton, Kemp and Blacklaw following up.
A four-run third began with Hunt blasting a homer to left. Horn singled and stole his way to third. With one out, Stovall singled him in. Hits by Johnson and Brower completed the rout.
Star City 10, Bryant 3
Bryant just couldn’t overcome Star City’s six-run second. The Bulldogs tacked on a run in the third and three in the fifth, winning it when Bryant came up empty in the bottom of the inning.
Bryant scored in its very first at-bat of the tourney. Catton beat out a bunt single and, after advancing on Horn’s fly to left, scored when Kemp singled. Nagle grounded into a force at second but hits from Hunt and Johnson had the bases loaded when the final out was recorded.
Bryant trailed 7-1 going into the bottom of the fourth. Horn singled, Kemp grounded into a force then Nagle, Johnson, Blacklaw andStovall singled to drive in two runs and fill the sacks but Star City wriggled out of the jam to maintain an advantage.
After the Bulldogs added three in the top of the fifth, Bryant went down 1-2-3 in the home fifth.