JONESBORO — The Bryant All-Stars completed pool play at the 2019 Cal Ripken 7U Southwest Regional Tournament unbeaten on Saturday, earning a number one seed and a bye in bracket play on Sunday. Bryant will play at 10:30 a.m., against the survivor of the 9 a.m. contest between the Jonesboro 7’s and the Jonesboro 6’s.
After winning twice on Friday, Bryant defeated Blytheville, 16-9, and Faultline of Blytheville, 13-8, on Saturday. The Paragould Lumberjacks also finished unbeaten in pool play and received a bye in bracket play.
The 7’s, coached by Brandon McNabb with assistance from Chad Horn, Jeff Hall and Adam Baker, include Brantlee Baker, Bryson Baxter, Jayce Canter, Jack Gore, Jack Henry Hall, Graham Horn, Javon Lowden, Myles McNabb, Luke Olson, Eli Schultz, Caden Tolleson and Bryston Trusty.
Bryant 16, Blytheville 9
Blytheville struck for three runs in the top of the first, but Bryant answered with the single-inning maximum of seven in the bottom of the inning, starting with a triple by Schultz. Gore, Horn, McNabb and Tolleson followed with consecutive singles.
With one out, Trusty got a knock, but he was forced at second on Baxter’s grounder to short. But Baxter and Baker eventually wound up scoring to make it 7-3.
Blytheville countered with another pair of runs in the second, but Bryant forced them to strand runners at second and third.
Though Canter started the bottom of the second with a triple, he was unable to score as well.
In the third, Blytheville was held scoreless and it was 7-5 going into the home third.
Horn, McNabb and Tolleson started a four-run uprising with singles. Olson grounded into a force at second but picked up an RBI. He then scored in front of Trusty, who doubled. Baxter and Baker each singled.
Trailing 11-5, Blytheville kept the pressure on with four runs in the top of the fourth. But that would mark the last of their run production.
Bryant padded its lead with three in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Singles by Hall, Lowden and Schultz started the fourth. Gore grounded out to drive in a run then two more scored when Horn’s grounder to short was misplayed.
Olson started the fifth-inning uprising with a single. Trusty and Baxter followed suit. Runs scored on groundouts by Baker and Canter.
Bryant 13, Faultline 8
Faultline built a 5-2 lead in the first two innings but could not score in the third. Bryant surged into the lead with a max inning in the bottom of the third then tacked on with two in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
A four-run top of the first gave Faultline the initial lead. Bryant countered with two runs in the home half. With two out, Horn and McNabb singled. Tolleson then tripled to right-center. He tried to score on the play but was thrown out at the plate.
Faultline added a run in the second and, despite a double by Trusty and a single by Baxter, Bryant was unable to answer in the home second.
The third, however, put Bryant ahead to stay. It started with a one-out single by Hall. Lowden bounced into a force. Schultz ripped a triple to right-center to make it 5-3 then Gore, Horn and McNabb each singled. Tolleson ripped a double to set the stage for Olson’s triple. He scored the seventh run on Trusty’s base hit to left.
Faultline managed another run in the top of the fourth to make it 9-6. Bryant trumped that when Baxter singled, was forced on a grounder by Baxter then scored on Canter’s three-bagger. Lowden’s double made it 11-7.
In the fifth, Faultline trimmed the lead to 11-9 but could get no closer. Bryant, in turn, scored twice on singles by Horn and McNabb and a two-run double to the gap in left-center by Tolleson.
Bryant set down Faultline on three groundouts in the top of the sixth to close out the victory.