The Bryant 8-and-under All-Stars overcame an intense battle with the rival Hamburg All-Stars in the single-elimination South Arkansas Cal Ripken State Tournament at Bishop Park, 9-6, to advance to the championship round only to get upset 8-6 by the Sylvan Hills All-Stars on Sunday afternoon.
The Bryant 8’s, nonetheless, advance to Regional play at Mobile, Ala., starting July 11, in the machine pitch division.
The team, managed by Rick Brown with assistance from Jacob Hunter, Seth Hyder and Mike Abrahamson, includes Mason Abrahamson, Luke Bowden, Brady Brown, Dax Drake, Tagan Dunn, Garrett Hill, Evan Hill, Wyatt Hunter, Keller Hyder, Ethan Kelley, Austin Markham, Isaac McCormickand Crews Thomason.
To get to the finals, Bryant blasted Fordyce 19-1 and Lakewood 13-0 in pool play. In the tournament, they dismissed the Benton 8’s, 17-4 then the Crossett All-Stars, 8-0 on Saturday setting up the dramatic action on Sunday.
Sylvan Hills 8, Bryant 6
Leading 4-2, Sylvan Hills scored four runs in the top of the sixth but had to hang on as Bryant rallied for four in the bottom of the fourth. The game ended with the potential tying run at the plate.
Sylvan Hills staked out a 3-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out uprising that was aided by a pair of key errors, the second allowing two to score.
Bryant got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Evan Hill reached on an error that allowed him to get to second. With two away, Kelley doubled him home. Successive singles by Hyder and Mason Abrahamson made it 3-2.
Sylvan Hills made it 4-2 in the top of the fifth with a pair of hits and an error. But the Sox did a good job of keeping it to that, forcing Sylvan Hills to strand two.
After Sylvan Hills’ four-run top of the sixth, Bryant’s rally began with an error as Hunter reached. Bowden’s grounder was kicked as well, then the duo worked a double steal ahead of Drake’s RBI single.
Drake stole second then Bowden scored on a groundout off the bat of Garrett Hill to make it 8-4. Evan Hill bunted to get Drake home and reached as well when the ball was thrown away. Evan Hill wound up at third. Moments later, he scored on a grounder to short by McCormick before the game ended with a groundout.
Bryant 9, Hamburg 6
In the semifinal battle, Bryant had to come from behind after Hamburg scored six times in the top of the first. They got two runs back in the bottom of the first then tied it with four in the fourth. A three-run fifth provided the winning margin as Hamburg was held scoreless after the opening salvo.
Kelley and Hyder each had three hits. Dunn and Evan Hill added two each.
Four hits and two errors produced Hamburg’s six run (the maximum a team can score in one inning). In the bottom of the inning, Kelley beat out a bunt hit and stole second. Hyder blooped a single to center and advanced to second when the throw came home to keep Kelley from scoring.
Abrahamson got a run home with a sacrifice fly then Hyder scored as Markham’s grounder to short was booted.
Neither team could muster much until Bryant’s tying uprising in the bottom of the fourth. Consecutive base hits by Evan Hill, McCormick, Kelley and Hyder started the inning, but didn’t produce a run in themselves as a pickoff erased one of the runners.
Abrahamson’s sacrifice fly made it 6-3 then Markham singled to cut the lead to two.
Thomason kept the inning going with a bunt hit. With the bags full, Dunn singled to drive in two to tie.
Despite an error and a two-out hit, Hamburg was unable to snap the deadlock in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the inning, Hunter led off with a double but, when he tried to stretch it to a triple, he was thrown out at third.
Undeterred, Bryant took advantage of a break as Bowden reached on an error and Drake mashed an RBI double. With two down, Evan Hill cracked a single to right and, when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, Drake scored.
McCormick’s grounder to first was misplayed allowing Evan Hill to score, making it 9-6.
Bryant loaded the bases with bunt hits by Kelley and Hyder but could get no more.
A one-out single for Hamburg in the top of the sixth provided some hope but Hyder threw out a runner on the grounder to the pitcher and Brown hauled in a fly to left to end the game.
Bryant 8, Crossett 0
The Bryant defense was stellar in Saturday’s win over Crossett, allowing just two hits.
At the plate, Hyder, Drake and Garrett Hill each had two hits to help take advantage of six Crossett errors. Bryant scored in four of the five innings.
One came in during the bottom of the first. Hyder singled with one out then scored on a hit by Abrahamson.
In the third, Drake’s base hit got the inning started. He reached third as the ball was first misplayed in the outfield then the throw to the infield got away. Garrett Hill’s bunt single got him home.
Evan Hill’s bunt resulted in runners at second and third. With one out, Kelley’s infield hit made it 3-0. Hyder’s single added a run.
In the home fourth, Thomason beat out a bunt hit and raced to third on a pair of errant throws. Dunn’s single to left made it 5-0.
Crossett managed its second hit in the top of the fifth but couldn’t score.
Bryant made it a run-rule walk-off in the home fifth when Drake and Garrett Hill singled. Evan Hill’s bunt resulted in a wild throw, which allowed Drake and both Hills to score.
Bryant 17, Benton 4
Maximum innings in the first and the fourth provided Bryant with the difference in the battle with its Saline County rivals to open bracket play on Saturday.
Markham had three of Bryant’s 19 hits in the game, driving in six runs.
In the first, Kelley reached second on an error and Hyder beat out a bunt single. Abrahamson’s hit to right got Hyder home. Markham followed with a drive to center that went for an inside-the-park homer and a 3-0 lead.
Thomason revved up the offense again with a single to center. He scored on Dunn’s double. After Dunn stole third, Brown’s knock made it 5-0.
With two away, Bowden legged out an infield hit. He stole third and when the ball got away at third base, he scored the sixth run.
Benton countered with three in the top of the second on a pair of two-out singles and an inside-the-park homer.
Bryant added a run in the home second. Garrett Hill’s bunt hit with one out was followed by an errant throw on a stolen base that allowed him to reach third. He scored on Evan Hill’s groundout to short.
In the Bryant third, Kelley’s bunt single and an infield knock by Hyder set the table. Abrahamson lined an RBI single to center then Markham plated two more with a triple. He tagged and scored on Thomason’s sacrifice fly, making it 11-3.
Benton picked up a run on a bunt single and a double to center, but the trail runner was thrown out trying to get to third. An error and a single to left followed but a grounder to Hunter at third resulted in an inning-ending force.
Bowden opened the bottom of the fourth with a hit. He stole second and took third on Garrett Hill’s bunt single. An error allowed Bowden to score as Hill took second. Evan Hill doubled him home and the onslaught continued with McCormick’s RBI single.
A base hit by Kelley followed and, with two away, Benton missed out on a chance to end the outburst but an error allowed Abrahamson to reach, loading the base for Markham who socked a single to left to drive in two more.
When Thomason singled and Dunn cracked a base hit, Abrahamson scored with the sixth run to end the game.
Bryant 13, Lakewood 0
Lakewood managed just one hit in the four-inning romp for Bryant, which wrapped up pool play Friday. Abrahamson and Brown each drove in four runs. Brown, Markham and Thomason each had two hits and Bryant took advantage of four Lakewood errors.
Maximum innings in the second and third provided the run-rule difference for Bryant.
Markham started the second-inning burst with a single, taking second on an error. Thomason’s hit to left set the stage for Dunn, whose flyball was misplayed, allowing the first run to score.
Brown lined a single to left to drive in two. Hunter added a base hit, but Brown was forced at third on Bowden’s grounder to short.
Drake, however, came through with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
Garrett Hill’s grounder to short resulted in a wild throw putting runners at second and third. Both scored when Evan Hill’s pop was misplayed.
McCormick started the third with a single then Kelley’s grounder to third was booted. Hyder beat out a bunt single to load the bases for Abrahamson who’s drive to center went for an inside-the-park grand slam and a 10-0 lead.
Markham followed with a solo inside-the-park homer.
Thomason singled and swiped second, taking third on a passed ball. With one out, Brown drove one to right for an inside-the-park homer to make it 12-0.
Bowden hit an inside-the-park home run with one out in the bottom of the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Bryant 19, Fordyce 1
Abrahamson, Markham and McCormick each homered in the opening game on Friday. Kelley and Dunn had three hits apiece.
Bryant put up three maximum innings, starting in the first. Abrahamson’s inside-the-parker came after Kelley had singled to start the game. Markham followed with his blast.
Thomason and Dunn singled to produce a run. Hunter knocked in Dunn then scored on a hit by Bowden.
Fordyce managed its lone run in the bottom of the first on a pair of errors.
Bryant’s romp continued in the second when Drake singled and Garrett Hill reached on an error. Evan Hill’s base hit drove home Drake. McCormick knocked in Garrett Hill then Kelley and Hyder singled to load the bases.
With one out, Markham doubled to clear the bases, making it 12-1.
Thomason singled and took second on an error in the top of the third. He scored on a lined single to right by Dunn.
The crowning outburst in the fourth started with base hits by Drake, Garrett Hill and Evan Hill. McCormick followed with his inside-the-park homer to make it 17-1.
Kelley kept things going with a single that was misplayed allowing him to get to second. He advanced to third when Hyder grounded out. Abrahamson’s fly to center was misplayed and it was 18-1.
Markham’s pop was dropped then Dunn singled in the game-ending run.