MOBILE, Ala. — The Bryant 8-year-old All-Stars opened play in the 2018 Cal Ripken 8-and-under pitching machine Regional Tournament at Westside Park with a win and a loss in pool play on Thursday.
In back-to-back contests, they whipped Madisonville, La., 8-0, then got bested by Westside, Ala., 8-4.
Today, the team was set to continue pool play today at 9 a.m., against Gulf Shores, Ala., and at 12:30 p.m., against Hamburg, Ark.
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 McCormick and Crews Thomason.
Bryant 8, Madisonville, La., 0
Led by Thomason, Drake, Hunter and Garrett Hill with two hits each, Bryant hammered out 13 knocks while keeping Madisonville under wraps with its defense, holding them to three hits.
A six-run second put the game firmly in Bryant’s favor.
In the first, Kelley beat out a bunt for a hit and when the pitcher’s throw to first was wild, raced all the way to third. With one out, Abrahamson socked a single to left to make it 1-0.
With two out, Thomason singled and Dunn reached on an error, but they were stranded.
Madisonville managed its first hit in the top of the second only to have the batter thrown out at second trying to stretch it to a double. Dunn threw back to the infield to Markham the catcher, who relayed to Kelley for the out.
Bryant’s breakout second began with a double to center by Drake. He had to hold at third as Hunter’s shot to third went for a base hit. Brown beat out a bunt hit to load the bases for Evan Hill who lined a single to center to drive in two.
The bags were packed again when McCormick’s bloop fell in for a hit. Moments later, Brown scored when Garrett Hill’s liner to short was misplayed, making it 4-0. Evan Hill scored when the ball got away from the catcher on the throw to the plate then McCormick scored on Kelley’s misplayed fly to center.
Abrahamson reached on an error and the bases were full again. This time, Markham came through with an RBI single to make max out the inning with the limit of six runs.
In the third, Thomason singled, took second on Bowden’s grounder to first and scored on Drake’s base hit to set the final score.
Madisonville never got two runners on base in the same inning until the top of the fifth when one reached on an error and another single. Both were stranded.
Westside, Ala., 8, Bryant 4
Westside built a 6-0 lead through four innings to gain the upper hand. Bryant tried to rally with a pair of runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough to extract the victory.
Kelley had three hits and Thomason had two for Bryant.
The Alabama team took a 2-0 lead in the second inning then scored three in the third and one in the fourth to establish the lead.
Bryant made noise in each of the first two innings. In the opening frame, Kelley beat out a bunt hit. In the second, Thomason and Dunn led off with singles, but Bryant was unable to take advantage. In the fourth, Kelley legged out an infield hit and Hyder bunted for a single only to be stranded.
In the fifth, Thomason led off with an infield hit and Dunn’s grounder drew a wild throw to first, putting runners at second and third. Bowden’s shot to the pitcher went for a hit but the runners had to stick.
That set it up for Drake, who picked up an RBI as he grounded into a force at second. Dunn scored when Hunter’s grounder to short resulted in a force at second.
Westside got those two runs back in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of a pair of errors.
Bryant’s sixth-inning burst began with a one-out single by Garrett Hill. Kelley’s infield hit put a pair on base. Hyder’s grounder to short resulted in a force at third but Abrahamson came through with a two-run double to make it 8-4.