Bryant 7s third at Firecracker Invitational

SHERWOOD — The Bryant 7-year-old All-Stars won both its pool play games at the Firecracker Invitational Tournament on Saturday then won a game on Sunday before being beaten out by an 8-year-old team from Searcy.

Bryant finished third, the last 7-year-old team to be eliminated. The Stars defeated the Lonoke Young Guns, a team of 7 and 8 year old players, 7-1; then knocked off a team of 8’s from Marion, 8-5, on Saturday to advance to the single-elimination championship tournament. On Sunday, they ousted a team of 7s and 8s from Sylvan Hills, 9-0, before running into Searcy and losing 9-5 after leading most of the game.

The Bryant 7’s, managed by Matt Orender with assistance from Patrick Schroeder, includes Luke Bessire, Dakota Clay, Cooper Davis, Noah Davis, Peyton Dillon, Austin Ledbetter, Jaggar Littleton, Justin Orender, Brett Pennington, Austin Schroeder, Lawson Speer and Garrett Wilson.[more]

The Bryant 7’s, along with the Bryant 8’s, begin play in the State Tournament at Sherwood this Friday, July 9.

Bryant 7, Lonoke 1

The Bryant defense kept Lonoke from scoring until the fifth inning when a single and a triple produced the only runs.

By then, the Stars had opened up a 4-0 lead as Lonoke defended well and kept the game close.

Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the first when Bessire tripled and scored on a two-out single by Dillon.

In the second, Schroeder singled but was forced out at second on Clay’s grounder to short. Clay, however, stole second and third then scored on a double by Cooper Davis. With two out, Orender singled and Littleton doubled to make it 3-0.

Noah Davis led off the third with a single and swiped second. With one out, Dillon delivered a base hit to make it 4-0.

After Lonoke broke through in the fifth, Bryant put the game out of reach with a three-run fifth. With one out, Bessire singled and Noah Davis cracked a triple. Ledbetter singled him home then scored after singles by Wilson and Schroeder.

Bryant 8, Marion 5

The Bryant Stars spotted Marion a 2-0 lead in the first and it held until the third. Pennington ignited a four-run uprising in the top of the inning with a double and a stolen base. Orender singled and Littleton beat out a bunt hit then they worked a double steal. With one out, Noah Davis drove them home with a double. He then scored on Ledbetter’s two-bagger.

But Marion erased the 4-2 deficit with three in the bottom of the inning then retired Bryant 1-2-3 in the fourth. Bryant returned the favor in the bottom of the fourth then surged to take the lead in the top of the fifth.

This time, Orender got things started with a single. Littleton again beat out a bunt hit. Both moved up a base as Bessire bounced out to first then singles by Noah Davis and Ledbetter brought them around. After a double steal, Wilson belted a two-out double to make it 8-5. Schroeder followed with a single to get Wilson to third but both were stranded.

Marion managed two hits in the bottom of the inning but couldn’t get a run home as Bryant held on for the win.

Bryant 9, Sylvan Hills 0

Sylvan Hills managed to get a runner to second just once and that came in the first inning. A one-out single had a runner at first but when he tried to steal, Cooper Davis rifled a throw to Schroeder to catch him for the second out.

A second single was followed by a third but when the lead runner tried to make it to third, Clay fired a throw from right fielder to nail him at third to end the inning.

Bryant took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Bessire singled but was out trying to get to third on a hit by Noah Davis. But Davis wound up at second and scored, moments later, when Ledbetter smacked a double.

In the second, Clay singled with one down and stole second. Cooper Davis doubled him home to make it 2-0.

The third was Bryant’s big inning as four runs crossed, giving the Stars a little breathing room. Bessire and Noah Davis hit one-out singles then Ledbetter, Dillon and Wilson followed with consecutive doubles to make it 6-0.

After Sylvan Hills was retired in order in the top of the fourth, Bryant tacked on the final three tallies. Cooper Davis’ triple got the inning going. Pennington singled him in then Orender drilled an RBI double. He eventually scored on a groundout by Littleton.

Sylvan Hills mustered a threat in the top of the fifth but, again, Bryant’s defense was tough. A single started the inning but, with one out, a grounder to Schroeder at second and a toss to shortstop Pennington for a force. The next batter hit one to center but a throw to second beat the runner for a game-ending force out.

Searcy 9, Bryant 5

A six-run fifth proved the difference for Searcy which came into the inning trailing Bryant 3-1.

Bryant had grabbed the lead in the first when Bessire singled, took second on Noah Davis’ sacrifice bunt then came around on singles by Ledbetter and Dillon.

Searcy tied it in the top of the second but Bryant forced them to strand runners at second and third.

That led to a two-run second for the Stars. With one out, Cooper Davis, Pennington and Orender smacked back-to-back-to-back doubles to produce the runs.

Over the third and fourth innings, Searcy managed just one base-runner against the stingy Bryant defense. But Bryant loaded the bases in the fourth and couldn’t added to its lead.

Getting out of that jam, no doubt, buoyed Searcy which struck for its six runs in the top of the fifth.

Bryant whittled a run off the 7-3 margin in the bottom of the inning on a single by Orender, a double by Littleton and a hit by Bessire.

Searcy added two in the top of the sixth and, again, Bryant tried to rally only to be held to one in the bottom of the inning. Wilson singled and stole second then scored on a base hit by Clay.

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