Photos courtesy of Joey and Robin Small
When it came down to the championship game of the District tournament for[more] 8-and-under baseball teams at Bishop Park, the last two standing were both from Bryant.
The 8-year-old team had opened the tournament with a 17-3 win over the Benton 8’s, dismissed the Hot Springs Village 8’s 10-0, then whipped the Pine Bluff 8’s 15-2 to reach the championship while the Bryant 7’s opened with an 11-4 win over a Pine Bluff team and buried the Benton 7’s, 23-4 (for more on those games, go here). With a 14-1 win over the Benton 8’s, the Bryant 7’s found themselves not only playing their neighbors but having qualified for State and Regional play.
The 8’s won the final 16-3 and will head to State tourney play in Sherwood July 6 as the District champs. They’ll also be headed to the Regional in Jonesboro June 19.
The Bryant 8's players include Evan Barrett, Gavin Burton, Luke Dreher, Caleb Greiner, Drew Hatman, Conner Martin, Logan McDonald, Colby Morrow, Cade Parker, J.T. Parker, Turner Seelinger, Hayden Thompson, Logan White. The team is managed by Jason Greiner with assistance from Ryan Martin and Jeremy Morrow.
The 7’s are Logan Owen, Logan Hope, Daniel Taylor, Alex Skelly, Reece Rowland, Mason Lucas, Braxton Fischer, Dylan Stroud, Tucker Dunn, Drake Brown, Matthew Griffe, Chase Small. Joey Small manages the team with assistance from Jonathan Hope and Michael Stroud.
Bryant 8’s 16, Bryant 7’s 3
Starting with a maximum innings of six runs in the first inning, the Bryant 8’s built a 16-0 lead over the first four innings before the 7’s broke through with three in the bottom of the fourth.
The opening uprising started by a single by Martin, a double by Dreher and a triple by Cade Parker. Burton cracked a double as well to make it 3-0. J.T. Parker’s base hit put runners at first and third and, with one out, Greiner beat out an infield hit to load the bases from McDonald who blasted a double to center to make it 6-0.
For the 7’s, Small and Stroud managed singles but were stranded.
In the top of the second, Morrow and Hatman singled ahead of a triple by White who scored on Seelinger’s groundout. Martin kept the inning going with a single and eventually scored on a groundout by Dreher.
The 7’s were retired in order in the bottom of the inning and, in turn, the 8’s built the lead up to 12-0. Doubles by Barrett and J.T. Parker produced a run then Thompson belted a home run.
Lucas and Fischer singled for the 7’s in the third but the 8’s kept them denting the plate again then extended the lead by four more in the top of the fourth. Hatman singled and White doubled to set the table for Seelinger’s RBI single. Base hits by Martin, Barrett and Cade Parker completed the scoring.
The 7’s finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, though they didn’t get enough to extend the game. Hope singled to start the inning. Though he was forced at second on a grounder to third by Griffe, doubles by Stroud and Brown produced a run. Dunn singled to make it 16-2 then Skelley doubled to plate a run.
The 8’s ended it in style when Owen lined out and they doubled Dunn off third.
Bryant 7’s 14, Benton 8’s 1
In the semifinal game, the 7’s were the team that scored in every inning starting with a maximum of six in the first to set the win in motion.
Small opened the bottom of the first with a single and he scored when Hope drilled a double to left. With one out, Stroud beat out an infield hit. Hope and Stroud both scored on a wild pitches to make it 3-0.
With two away, Dunn doubled past third and Skelley singled him to third. Another errant delivery got Dunn home then Skelley followed on a base hit by Owen. After Owen stole second, Taylor singled him in to cap off the inning.
Benton managed its lone run in the top of the second. Hayden Lumpkins singled but, with one out, Cade Turbyfill grounded into a force at second. Dylan Coates doubled, however, so when Jesse Oliver singled, a run scored. Coates tried to follow Turbyfill across the plate but Bryant relayed the ball home to Small who made the tag to end the inning.
Bryant increased the lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the second. Lucas singled but was forced out at second on a grounder to short by Fischer. Rowland singled to put runners at first and second for Small, whose infield hit loaded the bases. With two down, Fischer came in on a wild pitch and Griffe singled in Rowland.
Benton’s Nate Allen singled with two down in the top of the third but he was stranded. Bryant went back to work in the home half plating two runs on doubles from Dunn, Taylor and Lucas.
Despite singles by Gage Epperson and Lumpkins, Benton could not cut into the lead in the top of the fourth.
Bryant closed out the victory with four in the bottom of the inning. Rowland singled, Small doubled him in then Hope tripled to make it 12-1. Griffe beat out an infield hit as Hope held at third then Stroud’s single drove him in. A single by Brown filled the sacks so when Dunn singled in a run, the game was over.
Bryant 8’s 15, Pine Bluff 2
To get to the finals, the Bryant 8’s scored six in the first, three in the second, one in the third and five more in the fourth while holding Pine Bluff to two runs in the third.
The opening salvo was initiated by Martin’s single up the middle. Dreher, Cade Parker and Burton followed with consecutive doubles. With one out, J.T. Parker singled in a run before Thompson smacked an RBI double. He would score the sixth run on a groundout by Greiner.
The second-inning runs were scored by McDonald, Hatman and White. McDonald and Hatman singled and both scored on White’s triple. Seelinger singled in White and it was 9-0.
Barrett doubled to start the third and wound up scoring on a groundout by J.T. Parker.
To open the fourth, Logan McDonald, Morrow and Hatman singled. White grounded into a force at third as Logan McDonald scored. Seelinger and Martin singled in runs and, with two away, Cade Parker and Burton each singled to close out the win.
Bryant 8’s 10, Hot Springs Village 0
Hot Springs Village only managed three baserunners while being shutout. Meanwhile, Bryant scored the maximum in the first innings and won it in three frames with a run in the second and three in the third.
One-out singles by Dreher, Cade Parker and Burton produced the first two runs then Barrett ceracked an RBI double and J.T. Parker drilled a triple to chase him home. Another three-bagger by Thompson made it 5-0. He was knocked in by Greiner to end the inning.
McDonald singled, advanced on a groundout by Morrow and scored with Hatman picking up the RBI.
The third began with singles by Seelinger and Martin. Dreher doubled and Cade Parker picked up an RBI with a groundout. Burton knocked in a run then so did Barrett to set the final score.
Bryant 8’s 17, Benton 8’s 3
Bryant put up the maximum of six in each of the first two innings and added five in the third in the romp over Benton.
Martin got the game off to a fast start with a triple to right-center. He was knocked in by Dreher. Cade Parker laced another triple and, an out later, so did Barrett. With Barrett holding at third, J.T. Parker beat out an infield hit then Thompson smacked yet another triple. Greiner singled him home then he scored on the fourth triple of the inning, a shot by White.
Benton cut the lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the inning but got overshadowed by another six-run uprising by Bryant. Morrow, Hatman and White each singled to load the bases. Seelinger and Martin each singled in a run then Dreher cleared the bases with a triple. He scored as well on an errant relay.
Benton eked out a run in the bottom of the second only to see Bryant put up five more in the top of the third. Cade Parker singled and, an out later, Barrett, J.T. Parker and Thompson strung together hits. Though Barrett was out trying to score, the onslaught continued with hits from Greiner, Logan McDoanld and Morrow.