SHERWOOD — A strong start and a finish that was just as stout lifted the Bryant All-Stars to a[more] 16-5 win over Little Rock Coca at the Cal Ripken 8-and-under State Tournament on Saturday.
Bryant thus advances to the quarterfinals in the winners bracket. They’ll play again today at 4 p.m.
Matt Orender coaches the 8-year-olds with assistance from Patrick Schroeder and Paul Speer. Team members include Luke Bessire, Dakota Clay, Cooper Davis, Noah Davis, Peyton Dillon, Will Hathcote, Jagger Littleton, Justin Orender, Brett Pennington, Austin Schroeder, Lawson Speer, Josh Turner and Garret Wilson.
The Stars scored five times in the first and five times in the fourth as part of their victory. In the opening salvo, Noah Davis singled and, with one out, Cooper Davis smacked a double. With two down, Clay and Wilson came through with singles before Hathcote cleared the bases with a triple. Turner singled him home.
Little Rock cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the inning but Bryant got those runs back in the second with another triple. Speer has singled with one out before Bessire unloaded with the three-bagger. Noah Davis singled him in then Littleton doubled but they were stranded.
Bryant held the Little Rock team scoreless in the bottom of the inning and bumped the margin to 11-2 with four more in the third. Dillon singled and, after Clay walked, Wilson mashed a double. Base hits by Hathcote, Turner and Schroeder completed the uprising.
Little Rock kept its faint hopes alive with a three-run third but Bryant put the game out of reach in the fourth.
Pennington’s double got the final outburst underway. Noah Davis followed with a two-bagger then Cooper Davis singled. Doubles by Dillon and Clay plated runs then Hathcote capped off the inning with an RBI single.
Little Rock managed a single in the bottom of the fourth but nothing more.